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Background info for UNAM Protest

>On Sunday the Ministry of the Interior sent in riot police to end the
>nine-month student strike at the Autonomous University of Mexico. Some 500
>students and supporters were arrested.
>The police action was taken on the breakdown of negotiations with the
>leaders of the strike last week.
>While the mainstream media in Canada is saying the ending of the strike was
>peaceful, TV coverage on CBC news Sunday night showed otherwise. Parents of
>the arrested students were shown accusing the government of ruining their
>children's lives.
>The strike began over an increase in tuition hikes, but as the strike
>progressed, the demands grew. The Mexican government, in response to the
>peso crisis of 1998, made drastic cuts to its funding of universities and
>imposed restructuring of the university system.
>The student demands were in response to this restructuring:
>1. Elimination of the automatic pass - if you don't have a certain grade
>average you will be told what degree to pursue - at present due to reforms
>only those finishing within 3 years and with a grade point average of 9
>may make their own choices
>2. The elimination of what they call illegal fees as a result in the cut
>of government funding and the elimination of the new limit of time to
>finish their university career - an extension of 1.5 years would improve
>the situation greatly.  At that point 36.6% of students could be given the
>opportunity to complete their degrees
>3. The elimination of the vigilante forces and the extra police presence
>that is
>monitoring those who are organizing and those taking part in protests and
>student activities
>4. The creation of a democratic congress who will fairly represent the
>situation of the students and will restructure the administration/decision
>making mechanisms - at present students have only 26 representatives for
>students - students are not taken into account when management decisions
>are made.
>5. Students should recover all lost classes during the strike (9 months worth)
>6. The severing of the university's ties with Ceneval - a private corporation
>put in charge of running the university structure-in terms of who
>gets in, where do they go and what they do when they are in. Ceneval is
>charging students fees for a test that has to be taken when they complete
>High School. Most people are poor and often as a result are allocated into
>programs of a technical nature. Ceneval is not providing students with the
>ability to choose their own degree programs.

Soha Al-Haddad
VC Administration
Canadian Graduate Council

520-2600, ext. 8270

"I call biotech and patenting and so on the colonization of the future.
 And I think it is something we can't allow to be colonized. The
 colonization of the past only has some victims in the world.  The
 colonization of the future has us all in solidarity,"

				Vandana Shiva

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