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Bad examples of universities

Can you live on public funding, have little to zero transparency in your expenses and then ask for more resources to “survive”?
Autonomous University of the State of Morelos - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
29/11/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Can you live on public funding, have little to zero transparency in your expenses and then ask for more resources to “survive”? Is it possible to demand federal support after spending millions on unnecessary items?

This is the situation of, at least, two public universities.

According to the information published today by EL UNIVERSAL, the Superior Audit Office of Mexico documented several local universities have spent the resources given to them to meet the demand on higher education in flower arrangements, Mother's Day gifts, balloon decorations, bands for events, and food.

Moreover, instead of investing all that money in adding more student capacity, they've made excessive payments to the category “Personal Services” – corresponding to employee benefits.

Out of the 11 institutions with such irregular expenditures, the worst cases are the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos and the Michoacan University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo. These two universities – together with other six – have requested emergency resources to keep operating in 2018.

To spend resources carelessly and then request federal support is a combination which requires accountability on adequate budget expenditure. Someone has to be responsible for the vulnerable economic situation of these institutions.

Public universities, in their role as developers of knowledge and innovation, should be first ones to act with transparency and stop wasting resources in unnecessary items instead of using them to fund researchers, teaching work or activities for their students.

It's true it would be unwise to leave universities to their fates given their main role as shapers of the younger generations, yet the institutions should also adopt commitments on the adequate expenditure of resources and accountability.

Without violating the autonomy of the institutions, federal and local authorities should become the guarantors of the proper budget expenditure. The country and thousands of students would benefit from this.

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