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Saving our UNAM

The UNAM faces today a serious crisis that cast doubts on the University's capacity to ensure the safety of its facilities
University City of the National Autonomous University of Mexico - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
25/02/2018
09:09
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The National Autonomous University of Mexico, commonly referred to as UNAM, is one of the largest universities and one of the most renowned worldwide. Without a doubt, it is the pride of many a Mexican yet today it faces a serious crisis as a result of a recent string of violent events that, to start with, have cast doubts on the University's capacity to ensure the safety of its facilities, which – due to its autonomy – do not permit the access of either the military or the police force.

In what could may well become the beginning of a struggle for the “University City Square” – as indignant as it may sound, considering it's the UNAM – last Friday, in the courts area of the University City (CU) – an area known for its drug dealing activities – there was a shootout, allegedly between drug dealers in which two of the individuals involved were killed.

Given such concerning events, yesterday, the dean of the UNAM, Enrique Graue, explained the event may have taken place as a consequence of the University's efforts to fight drug dealing at the University City, and called for the University's community and youths, in general, to “reject those who begin to flood the University City of narcotics” and made it clear that neither guns nor the presence of the police was going to be an alternative when facing drug dealers, and that he would take full responsibility for the negative consequences of the decision. Moreover, Graue insisted that, with the current electoral process as background, some could try to take advantage of the situation to destabilize the University.

Meanwhile, as this edition went to press, despite the seriousness of the event, the federal and local authorities, claiming legal impediments due to technicalities, seemed to want nothing to do with the case. Unacceptable, because what happened this Friday is part of a list that also includes the death, within the University City, of Lesvy Berlín in May 2017 under circumstances still unknown; the discovery of a man's body in La Cantera, also in May of last year: or the death in June, 2017 of an Odontology student at the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature, allegedly after getting into a fight with an unknown individual and falling from either the third or the second floor.

We could, likewise, mention the case of the Justo Sierra Auditorium as a symbol of “anarchy” or the lawless land CU can become at times, which was seized in 2000 by “leftist groups,” accused of selling illegal drugs.

To summarize, facts like the above should no longer happen at the UNAM. And to achieve this, it's not only necessary to have the intervention of the University's authorities in collaboration with the local and federal ones but also the student body, who plays a vital role in these matters.

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