Preserve Funding for Puerto Rican Universities

Target: Ricardo Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico

Goal: Prevent the government from reducing University of Puerto Rico’s budget by $450 million.

Thousands students in the University of Puerto Rico have been striking against changes to its budget that would see an end to the higher education system as they know it. Students were already suffering from austerity measures, which hurt their ability to learn, and now their university may have its budget cut by $450 million. This cut, which constitutes one-third of the university’s consolidated budget, comes at the behest of the U.S. government’s Fiscal Control Board of Puerto Rico. Federal overseers are focused on the island’s payment of over $70 billion in debts owed to Wall Street creditors, rather than the health and well-being of the island’s people. As the nation slides further into economic instability, the U.S. government is showing that the demands of the wealthy take precedence over the needs of its citizens.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is unable to make many decisions for itself, and its people are unable to vote in national elections despite being citizens. Decades of corruption on the island went untreated by federal overseers who were happy to see the island serve as an investment opportunity for Wall Street bankers. Since economic downturn ravaged the island and increased already high poverty, creditors began demanding their money back and threatened lawsuits. With Puerto Rico unable to pay, the U.S. government stepped in to set up a control board to ensure the island paid its debts at the cost of many social programs.

Faced with cuts to the university they love and rely on, university students are demanding audits of the island’s debts before any more payments are made, and that reform to the system gives a voice for all those affected by the changes. Sign this petition to tell Puerto Rico’s governor to stand up to avaricious creditors and the U.S. government, and ensure that the integrity of the University of Puerto Rico is preserved for the students who stand to lose so much from its financial dismemberment.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Rosselló,

Since the start of the debt crisis in Puerto Rico, the island has been faced with many tough decisions about balancing economic demands and the welfare of its people. However, the $450 million cut to the University of Puerto Rico’s budget is out of line with what students need for a quality education and threatens the end of the university system integral to the futures of many young Puerto Ricans. As thousands of students strike against the deleterious changes they are confronted with, I urge you to listen to their voices and see the value in their input, and work to fight back against the U.S.

Though the university has been hurt by the corruption and fraud common to many Puerto Rican institutions over the past decades, the proposed budget cuts represent an undue punishment on those innocent of causing the problem. Rather than cut the budget while meeting demands of greedy investors, a full audit of Puerto Rican debts should be conducted while repayment is halted to preserve the crucial institutions upon which so many Puerto Ricans rely. Debt repayment should not come at the cost of training students who can help bring the island back to prosperity, a much more worthy investment. Though you have pushed back against an audit and the demands of students, consider the effect of your actions on the struggling Puerto Ricans who elected you into office, and help them to realize the better future you represented to them.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Moebiusuibeom-en

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One Comment

  1. The insatiably greedy and treacherous bankers are a scourge and plague on this earth. The American government is “just following orders”.

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