After over two months of striking and paralyzing the University of Puerto Rico over 3000 students approved a deal to reopen campuses.
The agreement was hailed by protest leaders as a victory against harsh education reforms backed by the commonwealth’s government. Indeed, the deal avoids punishing hundreds of students involved in the strike and cancels a proposed fee increase that would’ve doubled school tuition. “The fact that a student movement was able to force the administration and the government to sit down at the negotiating table and concede to nearly all their demands is a very important precedent,” admitted one professor to the New York Times.
The strike had gained support from other sectors upset with Gov. Luis Fortuño’s austerity measures such as his laying off of 17,000 public sector employees last year. Increased support of strikers along with a reported $305 million loss in government revenue from the strike seemed to have forced negotiations in favor of the student protesters.
Image- New York Daily News (“Student strikers sleep in tents in the gardens of the University of Puerto Rico and its iconic tower.”)
Online Sources- Monthly Review, Global Voices Online, MSNBC, Democracy Now, New York Times