Friday, May 2, 2008

CCH Vallejo Students and Regeneracion Radio End Occupation of Director´s Office

Pending the fulfillment of an agreement reached with school authorities on April 15, CCH Vallejo students and their community radio station, Regeneracion Radio, ended a six-day occupation of the CCH Vallejo director's office.

The agreement was reached after CCH Vallejo authorities called a school-wide assembly of approximately 2000 students. In the assembly, CCH Vallejo director Lucía Laura Muñoz Corona claimed to have never received the widely-publicized list of the students' demands. In response, students participating in the occupation presented her with their list of demands in the presence of the entire assembly.

During the assembly, school authorities and professors encouraged participants to re-take the director's office by attacking the students participating in the occupation. Students and radio collective members stated that the assembly was stacked with pro-authority students and porros. Porros are government-supported thugs who mug students and violently attack progressive student movements. They enjoy legal impunity, and students have definitive proof that the 3 de Marzo porro organization is allied with CCH Vallejo authorities. Adding to the already tense climate, more porros hung out just outside the campus during the assembly, accompanied by chief of campus security José Refugio Téllez.

A central demand of the student movement was that Director Muñoz resign or be fired. In response, Director Muñoz called an impromptu referendum of the anti-occupation assembly participants over whether she should continue as director or resign. Predictably, the majority voted in her favor.

However, when she moved on to the next demand put forth by the student movement, the firing of chief of campus security José Refugio Téllez, assembly participants were not as supportive. Seeing that the majority of the participants sought his dismissal, Director Muñoz stated that this was an issue that the student community could not vote on, so she would form a commission to review the complaints levied against him.

As part of the agreement between school authorities and students, the director will not take punitive action against participants and supporters of the occupation. In accordance with this agreement, the expulsion and suspension of six activist students have been revoked.

Also included in the accords is the creation of an "Anti-Porro Forum" and commission that will report to federal authorities to demand that porros not be permitted to congregate on federal property, such as the bus terminal in northern Mexico City near CCH Vallejo where between 150-200 porros currently meet nightly.

A mixed council of students, school authorities, and professors will be formed to make decisions that affect the student community, and students will elect their representatives.

School authorities also agreed to improve and de-beauracratize the current system of student aid and exam payments. Beginning in the 2008-2009 school year, students will be able to pay for their final exams on-campus, as opposed to going to an off-campus office as they currently have to do.

Regarding the students' demand that CCH graduates automatically be admitted to the UNAM at the university level, an unfulfilled agreement that came out of the 1999-2000 UNAM student strike, CCH Vallejo authorities claim they have no control over UNAM admissions, but that they will support the students and bring this demand to the appropriate authorities.

School authorities rejected the students' demand for the creation of a popular eatery on campus as an alternative to the high cost of the cafeterias. However, they did agree to review hygiene within the cafeterias, another common student complaint. They also agreed to relocate the cafeteria in the "R" building within 15 days so that it is no longer next to the boys' bathroom. Fifteen days have passed and the cafeteria remains next to the bathroom.

As part of the agreement, professors will no longer be allowed to condition students' grades on the sale of theater tickets and books. To reinforce this point, school authorities will no longer allow book publishers and other vendors to offer a percentage of their sales to professors.

Students on the evening shift of classes voted on the agreements reached during the day shift, and added the demand that the majority of the promises made by the director had to be fulfilled within 15 days. Director Muñoz orally agreed to tender her resignation if she did not meet the fifteen-day deadline, and the students have an audio recording of this promise. Fifteen days have now passed and students who took part in the occupation and protest report that school authorities have taken no action on the April 15 accords aside from revoking activist students' suspensions and expulsions. Director Muñoz denies that she agreed to the deadline.
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