Public Higher Education in Puerto Rico: Disaster, Austerity, and Resistance

By Rima Brusi and Isar Godreau


The University of Puerto Rico, the island’s sole public university, faces what is probably the most critical juncture in its hundred-year history. The draconian budget cuts that have already almost tripled tuition and will slash the institution’s budget in half by the fall of 2021 threaten to drastically shrink or even dismember the system in ways that could make its academic and social missions nearly impossible. This article argues that the damage to the university has serious implications for academic freedom and threatens Puerto Rico’s recovery and well-being. We also describe resistance efforts, focusing on the work of a commission including student and faculty representatives that produced a bill currently under consideration by Puerto Rico’s Senate.

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