UPR professors: President’s contract grants rank illegally
By John McPhaul
The Puerto Rican Association of University Professors (APPU by its Spanish initials) of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) claimed Wednesday that the contract awarded to the president of the institution, Jorge Haddock, and ratified by the UPR governing board is not legal.
The governing board determined to execute Haddock’s contract as president of the UPR with a remuneration of $240,000 a year and reimbursement of travel expenses for his relocation of up to $5,000, the APPU indicated in a written statement.
The contract includes fringe benefits such as retirement and medical plans from the UPR. In addition, the contract gives Haddock a position with the rank of professor, to be granted if he completes two years of satisfactory work as president of the university system.
“Dr. Haddock’s contract contains parts that are, in the words of lawyers, ultra vires,” said APPU President Ángel Rodríguez Rivera. “The process for granting positions and ranks at the University of Puerto Rico is regulated. The General Regulation of UPR establishes that it is the responsibility of the campuses through their personnel regime processes to hire teaching personnel and grant ranks. The Governing Board violates the regulations that it has the ministerial duty to defend. Neither the General Regulations of the UPR nor the University Law authorize the board to grant positions or academic ranks.”
The UPR has, as part of its legal and regulatory order, staff committees made up of peers who have the task of evaluating academic records and recommending positions and promotions in ranks, the union leader noted.
“Granting a place to Dr. Haddock without going through the processes that all the teachers at the University of Puerto Rico have to go through is an affront to university democracy,” Rodríguez Rivera said. “More importantly, it is a lack of respect for all the university students that day by day we go through vicissitudes in this institution.”
According to the APPU, the UPR has been freezing teaching positions for years. In the past 10 years, over $500 million has been lost in contributions from the Puerto Rico government to the UPR, the AAPU president added.
“The situation at the University has led to the precariousness of hundreds of colleagues who are obliged to remain as teachers without a position, both part-time and full-time,” Rodríguez Rivera said. “This staff of teachers without a position comes to the UPR with academic preparation in the best universities in the world, publications in highly prestigious professional magazines and the best wishes to contribute to the development of the UPR and Puerto Rico. Even so, they are kept in conditions of poverty and precariousness. They are told that there are no slots, that there is a crisis, that they are not needed. Within this context, a position with the rank of professor is granted to Dr. Haddock without a need to study or peer review processes. It is a matter of disrespect and a lack of sensitivity toward those people who give academic life to the university. From the APPU we call on the Governing Board to reconsider and terminate the parts of that contract that violate the law. The university community deserves no less.”