132 Academics and Researchers Call for a Dialogue Between Authorities at the Autonomous University of Honduras-UNAH Campuses and Protesting Students

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Rich Stahler-Sholk, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan
rsholk@gmail.com
734-660-1647

Steven Osuna, California State University, Long Beach, California
Steven.osuna@csulb.edu

213-247-6821

Suyapa Portillo, Pitzer College, California
Suyapa_portillo@pitzer.edu

323-637-7812

132 Academics and Researchers

132 Academics and Researchers Call for a Dialogue Between Authorities at the Autonomous University of Honduras-UNAH Campuses and Protesting Students

WASHINGTON - 132 academics and researchers, specialists in Latin American Studies and Latino/a Studies, signed on to a letter in support of the 27 students who are currently facing charges for student activism at the Autonomous University of Honduras-UNAH campuses. Three of those students have been convicted and await sentencing for non-violent protest.  Academics are asking for University to drop charges against all students, especially 3 of the students already convicted: Moisés David Cáceres Velásquez, Sergio Luis Ulloa Rivera, and Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla.

Students have been protesting the UNAH authorities since last year, 2016, seeking a voice on their campus reforms, which should include free and open student elections. Students seek to build a participatory and democratic system of shared governance to oversee changes to their curriculum and grading practices, as well as student elections, improvements to their major curriculums as well transparency in local campus reforms. Their non violent form of protest has involved marches and building take-overs, unarmed, for which they have been tear gassed, persecuted, held in constant surveillance, and have had direct intimidation from military units, such as the Cobra Unit, military police, anti-riot police and private security systems linked to the state, who have physically assaulted students.

The UNAH is the largest University in Honduras boasting 80,000 students, with regional satellite campuses throughout the nation and serving mostly working poor students, but open to students of all economic brackets. It is a public and an autonomous institution of higher learning, which claims to have shared-governance and lead itself without state or military intervention.

The full letter follows:

TO: Lic. Julieta Castellanos
Rector of the Autonomous University of Honduras, UNAH
Blvd. Suyapa, Ciudad Universitaria, Tegucigalpa, MDC, Honduras

We, the undersigned faculty members urge you and the administration of UNAH to drop the charges against student protestors: Moisés David Cáceres Velásquez, Sergio Luis Ulloa Rivera y Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla, who were engaged in non-violent civil disobedience to call attention to needed reforms that include student voice and participation on campuses across the nation.

We call for solidarity with students on a hunger strike, among their demands the following: to end criminalization and judicial processes against students and to conduct legitimate and fair student elections in the UNAH.  We also understand that students are dissatisfied with the university leadership and are seeking a recall of the administration because of their failure to dialogue and for their top-down politics of criminalizing their own student body. Recently, the father of Andrés Gómez was killed after attending his son’s judicial hearing.  We call for a full investigation and prosecution of those culpable for this murder.

Students are not our enemies, they are our future. The rising politics of terror facing student protestors in Honduras, where militarization of the various UNAH campuses throughout the nation is becoming a standard response by administration under your leadership, harkens back to the 1980s violence.  Students are receiving death threats, persecution and surveillance for standing up for their rights. Your very own intellectual work on the 1980s argues against militarization because it is not an avenue for progress. We would add that militarization and criminalization of our youth are not fruitful to building participatory democracy.

As educators we see the value of protest in helping students develop their own identity and voice and helping them develop into productive members of our society that seeks to build a participatory democracy, an aim for which Hondurans have been working since the 1980s.

Students’ rights to protest should be a protected form of expression, a rite of passage, a form of building an active citizenship and a voice around national and even world affairs. In and out of the classrooms, we must encourage students to be critical and dialogical members of society and not just passive receptacles of knowledge.

We hope that a fruitful dialogue can take place among you, University authorities and students, so that an effective, constructive and collaborative University reform, which includes student voices, may be achieved.

We urge you to drop the charges against the 27 students, including those named above, to dialogue and reach an agreement that can open up the classrooms, where all students feel reflected.

Sincerely the undersigned,

Richard Stahler-Sholk,    PhD    Eastern Michigan University

Piya Chatterjee    PhD    Scripps College

Mario Pecheny    PhD    Universidad de Buenos Aires

Paul Espinosa    PhD    Arizona State University

Leisy Abrego    PhD    UCLA

Kency Cornejo    PhD    University of New Mexico

Pablo Gonzalez    PhD    University of California Berkeley

Michelle Watts    PhD    University of Southern Mississippi

Aaron Pollack    PhD    Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS)-Sureste

Richard Grossman    PhD    Northeastern Illinois University

Marc Zimerman    PhD    Emeritus, U. of Houston, U. of Illinois at Chicago

Maria Mendez    PhD    University of Minnesota

Rodolfo Rosales    PhD    Retired from University of Texas of San Antonio

Suyapa Portillo    PhD    Pitzer College

Alfonso Gonzales    PhD    University of California Riverside

Leece Lee Oliver    PhD    California State University Fresno

Kimberly Drake    PhD    Scripps College

Jorge Ramon Gonzalez Ponciano    PhD    Stanford University

Katy Pinto    PhD    California State University Dominguez Hills

Aurelia Lorena Murga    PhD    The University of Texas at El Paso

Estela Ballon    PhD    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Javier Arbona    PhD    University of California, Davis

Katherine Hoyt    PhD    Alliance for Global Justice

Victoria Sanford    PhD    Lehman College, City University of New York

Samantha Fox    PhD    Binghamton University

Elena Shih     PhD    Brown University

Lilian Davila    PhD    University of California Merced

Joanna Perez    PhD    California State University Dominguez Hills

Claudia Arteaga    PhD    Scripps College

Rosalyn Negron    PhD    UMass Boston

X. Bañales    PhD    California State University

Jih-Fei Cheng    PhD    Scripps College

Harry E. Vanden    PhD    University of South Florida

Laura J Enriquez    PhD    University of California at Berkeley

Eric Vázquez    PhD    Dickinson College

Hólmfríður Garðarsdóttir    PhD    Universidad de Islandia

Maria Socorro Tabuenca    PhD-C    The University of Texas at El Paso

Carla Gomes    PhD-C    Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Ariana Stickel    PhD-C    University of Arizona

Mara Aubel    PhD    University of Kansas

Molly Todd    PhD    Montana State University

Raquel I. Drovetta    PhD    CONICET-Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas

Ellie Walsh    PhD    GOVERNORS STATE UNIVERSITY

David Close    PhD    Memorial University of Newfoundland

Christopher Perreira    PhD    University of Kansas

Matthew J Countryman    PhD    University of Michigan

Edward Murphy    PhD    Michigan State University

Pite Rebekah    PhD    Lafayette College

Christopher Loperena    MS    University of San Francisco (USA)

José Rubio-Zepeda    PhD    University of Texas at Austin

Gloria Chacon    PhD    University of California San Diego

Sandra Haley    PhD    Brown University

Steven Osuna    PhD    California State University, Long Beach

Christine Wade    PhD    Washington College

Patricia Ornelas-Moya    Otro    California State University of Los Angeles

Griselda Martinez    Otro    California State University, Northridge

Dalesy Casasola    PhD    California State University Los Angeles

Joo Ok Kim    MA    University of Kansas

Bernabe Rodriguez     PhD    California State University Long Beach

Alicia Estrada    PhD    California State University, Northridge

Brenda Cruz    MA    California State University, Los Angeles

Olivia Jaffe-Pachuilo    Otro    San Diego State University

Tamara Favors     PhD    University of California Merced

Thelma Jiménez-Anglada    PhD    Lawrence University

Vernor Arguedas    PhD    Universidad de Costa Rica

K. Myers    PhD C    University of California, Mercer

Beezer de Martelly    PhD    University of California, Berkeley

Carmen Caamaño     PhD    Universidad de Costa Rica

Rosemary L Lee    Otro    Retired

Emelyne Camacho    Otro    California State University Long Beach

Hector Fuentes    MPA    California State University, Northridge

Walter Abrego    PhD    Texas Tech University

Jorge Moraga    MA    California State University, Bakersfield

Rodolfo Rodriguez    PhD    University of California, Merced

Shannon Speed    PhD    UCLA

Adrienne Pine    JD    American University

Joseph Berra    PhD    University of California Los Angeles School of Law

Arely Zimmerman    PhD    Mills College

Ashley Lucas    Otro    University of Michigan

Christina Acosta    PhD C    University of California Merced

Amrah Salomon J.    PhD C    University of California, San Diego

Nalya Rodriguez    PhD    University of California Irvine

Guadalupe Bacio    PhD    Pomona College

Chris Zepeda-Millan    MA    University of California Berkeley

Fanny García    PhD    Columbia University

Mita Banerjee    MA    Pitzer College

Esmeralda Garcia    PhD    University of California Irvine

Munia Bhaumik    PhD    Emory University

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz    MA    American University

Tricia Morgan    PhD    Pitzer College

Genevieve Carpio    PhD    UCLA

Sylvanna Falcón    PhD    University of California, Santa Cruz

Patricia Zavella    PhD    University of California

Beatriz Cruz Sotomayor    Otro    Universidad del Turabo

Alessandra Alvares    PhD    University of California Santa Cruz

Amalia Pallares    PhD    University of Illinois at Chicago

Mary Delgado Garcia    PhD    Scripps College

Ernesto Martinez    Otro    University of Oregon

Alvaro Huerta    PhD    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Cristina Serna    PhD    Colgate University

Shannon Gleeson    Otro    Cornell University

Kim YuneHie    PhD    UC Berkeley

        Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval    MS    UC Santa Barbara

        Clara E. Irazábal-Zurita, PhD University of Missouri - Kansas City

        Genevieve Negron-Gonzales, PhD, University of San Francisco

        Enrique Ochoa, PhD California State University, Los Angeles

        Karma R. Chávez     PhD    University of Texas at Austin

Victor Silverman    PhD    Pomona College

Maria Cristina Morales    PhD-C    University of Texas at El Paso

Gabriela Arguedas    Otro    Universidad de Costa Rica

Andrea Gonzalez     Otro    California State University Long Beach

Hao Huang    PhD    Scripps College

Marta Bustillo     PhD    Universidad de Puerto Rico

Adriana Garriga-Lopez    PhD    Kalamazoo College

Mónica Moreno Figueroa     PhD    University of Cambridge

Joan Simalchik    PhD    University of Toronto Mississauga

Kemy Oyarzún    PhD    Universidad de Chile

Joel Mercado-Diaz    PhD    The University of Chicago

Stacey Schlau    PhD    West Chester University

Elizabeth Maier    PhD    Colegio de la Frontera Norte

Maria Amelia Viteri    PhD    USFQ

Jack Spence    PhD    University of Massachusetts Boston

Karina Oliva Alvarado    PhD    UCLA

Heather Vrana    PhD    University of Florida

Emilie Bergmann    PhD    University of California, Berkeley

Liv Sovik    PhD    Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Hillary Hiner    PhD    Universidad Diego Portales

Rosalind Bresnahan    PhD    California State University

Miguel Tinker Salas    PhD    Pomona College

Sonia Ticas    PhD    Linfield College

Dan Beeton    Otro    Center for Economic and Policy Research

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