I hope all of this talk about the UBA take over isn't boring people, but I for one find it fascinating. It makes me feel as if I were a student at Berkeley in the 1960's.
The university take over has been going on for almost two weeks now. It all started on Wednesday, September 1 when a giant glass window broke injuring a girl at one of the three sedes (buildings for the Social Science department). The students used this as a rallying point behind the need for "more dignified classrooms." The quality of the classrooms are certainly very poor, but the students don't really help the situation since the paint graffiti all over the classroom walls. In addition to higher quality classrooms, the Social Science students are also demanding one buildings for the department--the department is currently spread across the city in three different sedes and students have to commute from one sede to another. There were initial plans to create one building dedicated entirely to Social Sciences, but funding disputes between the federal and city governments have prevented this from happening.
I am taking one class in the School of Social Sciences and another class in the School of Philosophy and Letters (known as the two most politically active schools in UBA). Origionally only the Social Science students were striking, but last week after the president of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner came out in support of the striking students the Philosophy and Letters students listened to the encouraging words of their president and joined their peers at Social Sciences by taking over the Philosophy and Letters sede. My host mom tells me that Cristina's statement was mainly a political move since Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires and the man who is taking most of the heat for the crappy buildings, is of an opposing political party.
The bottom line is that class has been pretty crazy. Students are not allowed on inside the buildings other than on the first floor. Some teachers are holding "clases publicas" outside (either in the middle of the street or in parking lots) while other teachers just aren't holding class at all. The only way to know weather or not you have class is to show up.
Check out the pictures below that I took at the Social Science building:
One of the two entrances to UBA Ciencias Sociales...right now it isn't serving as an entrance.
"University that has been taken over but that is not empty."
"All day: classes outdoors!"
Classroom #8. Each tree marks a new "classroom." If it's a nice sunny day clases públicas aren't that bad (although it can be quite difficult hearing the professor), but it's not as much fun if you have class beginning at 9:00 PM.
All of the "classrooms." Check out the numbers on all of the trees.
Myths and truths about university take-overs.
More myths and truths about university takeovers.
Can't get through.
Desks piled up to prevent anyone from going upstairs. Oh, and just a side note, all of the signs you see ("Asemblea de Ciencia Politica," "El Viejo Topo," "Sur," and etc have nothing to do with the take over. Those are there 24/7. Oh so UBA.