University Students Denounce Threats for Taking Covid-19 Prevention

A security guard takes the temperature of a woman at the entrance of the National University of Engineering (UNI) in Managua, Nicaragua. Jorge Torres / EFE

At seven university campuses they threaten to expel students who do not attend for fear of the pandemic, reveals a student report.

By Yader Luna  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – University students from 16 organizations from all over the country called on students to not attend in-person classes, despite the threats from the authorities of the different campuses in Nicaragua that refuse to cancel the classes as a preventive measure against the coronavirus pandemic.

In at least seven campuses of state universities located in Managua, Carazo, Esteli, Leon, Chontales and Matagalpa, administrative authorities are threatening students “in every-way possible,” they denounced at a press conference.

In a report, prepared by the students, they detail that they are threatening to expel students of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) Managua and Leon, those at the Multidisciplinary Regional Faculty (FAREM) of Carazo and Esteli, and those at the National University of Engineering in its two campuses in Managua.

“The threats are suspension of enrollment, punishment for absence from classes, expelling students, physical assaults, and dismissal of administrative and teaching staff who stay home. These threats have been made by university authorities, others by professors and by members of the National Union of Students of Nicaragua (UNEN) and the University Center of the National University (CUUN),” explained Jonathan Lopez, member of the University Coordinator for Democracy and Justice (CUDJ).

They ask for resistance

Katherine Ramirez, member of the CUDJ, explained that the harassment includes that on social networks the “names and addresses of students” who have decided to be absent from classes as a health protection measure “have been disclosed”. Likewise, videos have also gone viral in which professors are seen threatening college students.

“The call to the university community is to not go to classes, to suspend all academic activities at this time, because the most important thing must be to protect life,” she insisted.

Ramirez said that despite the fact that many students have signed letters requesting the suspension of classes due to the health emergency, “no official answer has been received.”

In their report, the students indicate that of 15 universities monitored only in six campuses are imparting “online courses,” among them the Central American University (UCA), the Thomas More University, UNI-Juigalpa, the American University, the University of Commercial Sciences (UCC) and the Catholic University (UNICA).

“Public universities, run by authorities closely linked to the ruling party, have adopted the same irresponsible narrative of the Central Government, revealing, once again, the overvaluation of political interests above everything else, even above scientific knowledge,” they point out in their statement.

Furthermore, they indicate that the university community in general is in a situation of considerable vulnerability to Covid-19 and insist that the lack of measures by the university authorities “must be documented as another crime and must be denounced.”

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