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Latino Politics in the U.S.

Latino Politics in the U.S.
Kendall-Hunt, 2012 (2005)
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Puerto Rican Scholars in the US Request Attorney General Intervention UPR Conflict

December 16, 2010

Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
The United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Holder:
As Puerto Rican scholars teaching in the United States we have decided to write to you in order to express our deep concern with regard to recent developments at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). For the past months, the University has experienced a continuing conflict that began last semester with a call for a strike by the students in response to an increase in academic tuition and related to fears about the future of public higher education on the island. Unfortunately, university administrators, professors, and students have not been able to negotiate a satisfactory agreement. The whole process has recently culminated in the intervention of Governor Luis Fortuño and the deployment of a massive police presence on the main university campus at Río Piedras and on other campuses in the system, including a private security contractor and fully armed SWAT units.
On December 13, Chancellor Ana R. Guadalupe banned all meetings, festivals, manifestations, and all other so-called large activities on the Río Piedras campus for a period of thirty days. In our view, this represents a clear breach of fundamental constitutional rights. The justifications given by the Chancellor are that this measure is required in order to keep the campus open and to return it to normal operations. Furthermore, professors and workers are being asked (under the threat of punishment) to continue working despite the intense volatility caused by the police presence on campus.
We remain very concerned that such use of force may in fact increase the potential for violence and continued tension, especially if the guarantees of freedom of speech, association, and assembly have been revoked. Both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico guarantee these rights. Moreover, this week the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico (which, without the opportunity for serious public debate, was recently restructured by the government of Luis Fortuño in order to ensure a clear majority of judges in his favor) declared, in a disturbing resolution, that strikes will be prohibited at all UPR campuses effective immediately.
We the undersigned write to you as scholars and citizens because of the potentially lethal conditions that we have described and that prevail at the UPR. That is why we urge you to intervene in order to:
1. Guarantee the constitutional rights of freedom of speech, association, and assembly as stipulated by both constitutions and to see that the conflict is conducted under the strictest observation of human and civil rights for all parties involved.
2. Procure the immediate withdrawal of all state and city police, private contractors, and other non-UPR security personnel from the University of Puerto Rico system currently under occupation.
3. Call all parties to meet and have a truly productive dialogue.
Respectfully yours,
[Institutional affiliations for identification purposes only. Please respond to primary contacts.]
1) Agnes Lugo-Ortiz, The University of Chicago [Primary contact]
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Chicago, IL 60637
lugortiz@uchicago.edu
2) Ivette N. Hernández-Torres, University of California, Irvine [Primary contact]
ivetteh@uci.edu
3) Luis F. Avilés, University of California, Irvine [Primary contact]
laviles9631@sbcglobal.net
4) Aldo Lauria-Santiago, Rutgers University [Primary contact]
alauria@rci.rutgers.edu
5) Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones
Emory L. Ford Professor, Emeritus, Princeton University
adiaz@princeton.edu
6) Aníbal González-Pérez, Yale University
anibal.gonzalez@yale.edu
7) Luis Figueroa-Martínez, Trinity College
Treasurer, Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA)
Luis.Figueroa@trincoll.edu
8) Roberto Alejandro, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
ralejand@polsci.umass.edu
9) Harry Vélez-Quiñones, University of Puget Sound
velez@pugetsound.edu
10) Ismael García-Colón, College of Staten Island, CUNY
Ismael.Garcia@csi.cuny.edu
11) Áurea María Sotomayor-Miletti, University of Pittsburgh
aureamariastmr@yahoo.com
12) Antonio Lauria-Perricelli, New York University
al71@nyu.edu
13) Wanda Rivera Rivera, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Wanda.Rivera-Rivera@umb.edu
14) José Quiroga, Emory University
jquirog@emory.edu
15) Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
lawrlafo@yahoo.co.uk
16) Daniel Torres, Ohio University
torres@ohio.edu
17) Pablo Delano, Trinity College
Pablo.Delano@trincoll.edu
18) Denise Galarza Sepúlveda, Lafayette College
galarzad@lafayette.edu
19) Richard Rosa, Duke University
rr49@duke.edu
20) Eleuterio Santiago-Díaz, University of New Mexico
esantia@unm.edu
21) Ilia Rodríguez, University of New Mexico
ilia@unm.edu
22) Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Northwestern University
r-rivera-servera@northwestern.edu
23) Gladys M. Jiménez-Muñoz, Binghamton University-SUNY
gjimenez@binghamton.edu
24) Luz-María Umpierre
Poet, Scholar, Human Rights Advocate
LUmpierre@aol.com
25) Sheila Candelario, Fairfield University
candelariosheila@hotmail.com
26) Edna Acosta-Belén, University at Albany, SUNY
eab@albany.edu
27) Efraín Barradas, University of Florida at Gainsville
barradas@LATAM.UFL.EDU
28) Kelvin Santiago-Valles, Binghamton University-SUNY
stgokel@binghamton.edu
29) Víctor Figueroa, Wayne State University
an7664@wayne.edu
30) Juan Duchesne Winter, University of Pittsburgh
juanduchesne@yahoo.com
31) Pablo A. Llerandi-Román, Grand Valley State University
llerandp@gvsu.edu
32) Irmary Reyes-Santos, University of Oregon
irmary@uoregon.edu
33) Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Fordham University
cruzmalave@fordham.edu
34) Ileana M. Rodríguez-Silva, University of Washington
imrodrig@uw.edu
35) César A. Salgado, University of Texas, Austin
cslgd@mail.utexas.edu
36) Jossianna Arroyo, University of Texas, Austin
jarroyo@mail.utexas.edu
37) Francisco A. Scarano, University of Wisconsin, Madison
fscarano@wisc.edu
38) Jaime Rodríguez Matos, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
jaimerod@umich.edu
39) Cecilia Enjuto Rangel, University of Oregon
enjuto@uoregon.edu
40) Elpidio Laguna-Díaz, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
elplag@optonline.net
41) Lena Burgos-Lafuente, SUNY, Stony Brook
lenabu@nyu.edu
42) Ramón Grosfoguel, University of California, Berkeley
grosfogu@berkeley.edu
43) José Francisco Buscaglia Salgado, SUNY, Buffalo
Director of Program in Caribbean Studies
jfb2@buffalo.edu
44) Francisco Cabanillas, Bowling Green State University
fcabani@bgsu.edu
45) Lisa Sánchez González, University of Connecticut
lisa.m.sanchez@uconn.edu
46) María M. Carrión, Emory University
mcarrio@emory.edu
47) Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Director Institute for Research on Women
yolandatrabajo@optonline.net
48) Agustín Lao-Montes, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
oxunelegua@yahoo.com
49) Jason Cortés, Rutgers University-Newark
jasoncor@andromeda.rutgers.edu
50) Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Rutgers University
President, Caribbean Philosophical Association
nmtorres7@gmail.com
51) Daín Borges, The University of Chicago
dborges@uchicago.edu
52) Edna Rodríguez-Mangual, Hamilton College
emrodrig@hamilton.edu
53) Ricardo Pérez Figueroa, Eastern Connecticut State University
PerezR@easternct.edu
54) Licia Fiol-Matta, Lehman College, CUNY
lfiolmatta@earthlink.net
55) Frances R. Aparicio, University of Illinois at Chicago
franapar@uic.edu
56) Luis E. Zayas, Arizona State University
lezayas@asu.edu
57) Hortensia R. Morell, Temple University
hmorell@temple.edu
58) Milagros Denis-Rosario, Hunter College
mdenis@hunter.cuny.edu
59) Víctor Rodríguez, California State University, Long Beach
vrodrig5@csulb.edu
60) Madeline Troche-Rodríguez, City Colleges of Chicago
mtroche05@yahoo.com
61) Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo, Washington State University
clugo@wsu.edu
62) Jorge Luis Castillo, University of California, Santa Barbara
castillo@spanport.ucsb.edu
63) Rosa Elena Carrasquillo, College of the Holy Cross
rcarrasq@holycross.edu
64) Juan Carlos Rodríguez, The Georgia Institute of Technology
juan.rodriguez@modlangs.gatech.edu
65) Susana Peña, Bowling Green State University
susanap@bgsu.edu
66) José R. Cartagena-Calderón, Pomona College
Jose.Cartagena@pomona.edu
67) Amílcar Challu, Bowling Green State University
achallu@bgsu.edu
68) Carlos J. Alonso, Columbia University
calonso@columbia.edu
69) Carmen A. Rolón, Providence College
CROLON@providence.edu
70) Amy Robinson, Bowling Green State University
arobins@bgsu.edu
71) Consuelo Arias, Nassau Community College
ecarias@att.net

Puerto Rican Scholars in Canada Who Also Subscribe to this Letter

72) Rubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández, University of Toronto
rgaztambide@oise.utoronto.ca
73) Néstor E. Rodríguez, University of Toronto
nestor.rodriguez@utoronto.ca
74) Gustavo J. Bobonis, University of Toronto
gustavo.bobonis@utoronto.ca

cc: Thomas E. Pérez, Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
Luis Gutiérrez, Congressman, Illinois 4th District
Nydia Velázquez, Congresswoman, New York 12th District
José Serrano, Congressman, New York 16th District
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Luis Fortuño, Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in Washington
José Ramón de la Torre, President of the University of Puerto Rico
Ygrí Rivera de Martínez, President of the Board of Trustees (Junta de Síndicos), University of Puerto Rico
Ana R. Guadalupe, Chancellor of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus