GSU Stands in Solidarity with University of Puerto Rico Student and Faculty Members on strike

WHEREAS, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act or PROMESA (H.R.4900, June 30, 2017) is an imperialist federal law enacted by the United States Congress to address the Puerto Rican debt crisis, a financial crisis related to more than $70 billion USD of outstanding debt owed by the government of Puerto Rico to Wall Street bondholders; and

WHEREAS, under PROMESA, a Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (or “Junta de Control Fiscal (JCF)”) was established to oversee the implementation of neoliberal austerity measures by the Government of Puerto Rico to ultimately guarantee payments to bondholders; and

WHEREAS, on March 9th, 2017 the JCF sent a letter to Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló requesting the government to come up with a plan to reduce annual subsidies to the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), the main public university system and largest higher-education institution in the island, by a minimum of 450 million dollars by the year 2021 as a measure to address the financial crisis; and

WHEREAS, on April 5th, 2017 students and professors of the 11 campuses of the UPR met in National Assemblies with students from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and the School of Plastic Arts of Puerto Rico and voted in favor of a system-wide strike that started last April 6th to protest the budget cuts proposed by the JCF; and

WHEREAS, on April 11th, 2017 the Hermandad de Empleados Exentos No-Docentes, the main workers’ union in the UPR system, which has supported the student strike from day 1, voted in favor of a strike vote of their own to protest the budget cuts proposed by the JCF ; and

WHEREAS, these actions demonstrate that students, professors and workers from the University of Puerto Rico are devoted to the defense of Puerto Rico’s public higher education and to the access of affordable, high quality educational opportunities to present to future generations of students; and

WHEREAS, proposed budget cuts by the JCF, which represent one-third of the university’s consolidated budget, and other austerity measures, will inevitably obliterate Puerto Rico’s most important higher education public institution; and

WHEREAS, quality affordable public higher education must remain a right and not a privilege, and is a cornerstone for a just and equitable society; be it

RESOLVED, that Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago (AFT/AAUP) stands in solidarity with striking student and faculty members across the University of Puerto Rico system as they fight against austerity measures that threaten access to public and high-quality higher education in the island.