New rector of Mexico City’s public university vows not to raise tuition

03/02/2016 The Guardian

UNAM Biblioteca photo by Omar Omar

Incoming head of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México says affordable higher education is vital in a country rife with inequality.

If there is one thing that animates university students the world over, it’s rising tuition and fees. So, when asked about the potential for increased tuition or fees – with which students at public and private universities in Europe and the US have often had to contend – the new rector of the public Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Unam), Enrique Luis Graue Wiechers, wanted to be clear: “The fees won’t be changed.”

Graue Wiechers would have reasons to want to be clear: in 1999, when then-Rector Francisco Barnes de Castro pushed through tuition fees for Mexican students of about $75 per semester, the university erupted in protests, classes were cancelled and Barnes de Castro eventually was forced to resign. The strikes and protests lasted almost a full year and only ended when university administrators called in a couple thousand unarmed federal police officers to arrest the remaining protesters in February 2000.

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