Mexico university resumes classes following deadly earthquake

Staff and students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico return to studies

September 27, 2017
National Autonomous University of Mexico
Source: Getty
Standard bearer: the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Latin America’s largest university has reopened its doors just days after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake claimed hundreds of lives.

Representatives from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Unam) – which boasts 240,000 students in and around Mexico City – said the decision to return to working capacity had been done with sensitivity and understanding, along with “a spirit of empathy and solidarity with the university students and the Mexican people”.

Rector Enrique Graue Wiechers confirmed that a review of the university facilities had deemed the buildings safe for use, with no major structural damage or risk of collapse.

In some cases, restricted access will apply, however, to allow for repairs to be made to minor damages.

At least 237 people are believed dead following last week’s earthquake, which shook Mexico City and surrounding areas. Video footage showed students from the neighbouring Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education running for their lives as a campus building in the city collapsed behind them to rubble. Four people were killed and 40 injured as a result of the collapse, the university confirmed.

In a statement, Dr Graue Wiechers expressed his “deepest sorrow” over the loss of lives in the city, praising the thousands of university students who joined rescue services as volunteers.

"We return to our daily activities, without this implying detachment or conformity,” he said.

University officials said that the emergency had “entered a second stage where our efforts are required in other ways, including to educate and rebuild”. 

“Unam recognises the strength and enthusiasm of those who have given their unconditional support,” the university said.

rachael.pells@timeshighereducation.com

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