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Closure of Universidad del Mar Causes Uproar

Closure of Universidad del Mar Causes Uproar
December 27
19:58 2012

Over 18,000 students have been displaced with the closing of Universidad del Mar, resulting in protests and a political blame game.

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Minister of Education Beyer expresses the active role the Ministry will take to help the students

MAIPÚ — Universidad del Mar, a private university, was stripped of its legal standing and closed down after a unanimous vote by the National Education Council (CNED). It is the 18th University to close since 1990.

The University was plagued with massive debt, resulting in delayed payments for workers, irregularities in accreditation and the diversion of funds to real estate businesses.

Minister of Education Harald Beyer affirms that, “Admittedly, Universidad del Mar is to blame for this situation. We do not act arbitrarily. This is the result of the irresponsibility of the owners of this institution and the failure of State regulators who did not perform adequate monitoring.”

The question is… What happens to the students now?

The Ministry of Education has declared that they will do everything possible in order for the students to be re-matriculated into other universities to stay on track with their studies.  However, Senator Jaime Quintana said, “It is an erroneous decision, no matter how you look at it.  They try to give a sign of order… however it is completely irresponsible because it does not resolve the underlying problem. Who is now responsible for the students?”

“Now is the moment for the Ministry to give solutions,” he added.  

Around 50 students, frustrated by the declaration and not feeling confident of the government’s ability to help them, assembled at the Maipú campus of Universidad del Mar.  Burning barricades, blocking traffic and causing congestion, they outwardly expressed their disappointment.

Henry Cortés, an evangelical pastor whose church held a stake in the University, stated that, “Closing University del Mar makes the innocent pay for the guilty,” referring to the students who are now facing the consequences of the decision.

In order to calm the unrest, Minister Beyer once again announced that the Ministry will take care of relocating students and is quickly taking action to facilitate the process.

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Frank Polizzi

Frank fell in love with Chile when he studied at Universidad Católica last year. After finishing his undergraduate degree in International Relations and Spanish, he will return to Santiago and channel his passion for politics and Latin American culture through Journalism. He aspires to live long-term in Santiago and find a career that allows him to express his interests in global politics, economics and human rights.


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