Sit-in ends as strife shifts

September 22, 2006

Students at the National University of Comahue, the biggest state university in Patagonia, Argentina, have ended a three-month sit-in that had paralysed the institution. But a second Argentinian university is in crisis and leaderless.

In May, hundreds of left-wing students belonging to the University Federation of Comahue, began an occupation to prevent the election of a new rector. They took over the rector's offices and six faculties. Until the sit-in ended this week, it was doubtful whether some 15,000 students would be able to embark on the next academic term, which begins this month.

The crisis at Comahue, which has 24,000 students and is based in Neuquen, with nine satellite campuses in Patagonia, comes as radical students at the University of Buenos Aires have blocked the election of a new rector on five occasions.

UBA, the biggest university in the country with 360,000 students, has been without a rector since May and has accumulated a backlog of 1,900 university regulations that cannot be implemented without the rector's authorisation.

In May, Comahue's electoral college voted in a new rector, Daniel Boccanera, the former dean of engineering. But a group of academics who felt they had not been consulted challenged the decision in the provincial courts.

At first, the judges ruled in Dr Boccanera's favour, but an appeals court decided that he should step down and that new elections should take place.

A date for fresh elections has not yet been set but the UFC's leaders decided to stop the sit-in because they did not want students to miss out on the next academic term.

Their main goal is to ensure that students have the same representation on the university's governing body as academics.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

Woman tearing up I can't sign

Schools and universities are increasingly looking at how improving personalities can boost social mobility. But in doing so, they may be forced to choose between teaching what is helpful, and what is true, says David Matthews

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education

Door peephole painted as bomb ready to explode

It’s time to use technology to detect potential threats and worry less about outdated ideas of privacy, says Ron Iphofen