The Council of Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ) has sent a letter to Rio de Janeiro state Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão, notifying the authorities and the population that the government's failure to pay wages, scholarships and grants, and funding for running costs since last November is “impairing activities across its academic and administrative units”. The university has not announced any stoppages, but wrote that the current working conditions are hindering operations and may lead the university to suspend its activities.
Professor Tania Maria de Castro Carvalho, Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Studies, says the lack of funding has been causing distress since 2015, but the situation has now become untenable. She noted the problem has reached all sectors, making it impossible for the university to continue to open its doors.
“UERJ has operated under poor conditions, often with no electricity or Internet; payment of cleaning services is delayed—security , university cafeteria, all payments are late. Most of all, student grants are being delayed. There are over 9,000 students from affirmative action quota programmes who receive government bursaries not to mention studentships for university projects that haven't been paid since November" (since tuition in Brazil's state-run schools and universities is provided free of charge to students, those bursaries are for living expenses and financial support only.)
“The government is making our social mission impossible,” said Tânia Carvalho, noting that “UERJ refuses to be part of the dismantling of government-run education and healthcare in the state and throughout the country. This is the firm, unswerving stance of this university.”
No end in sight
As of the first publication of this story, the state government had not confirmed receiving the university's letter. The State Finance Secretariat told Agência Brasil that “since the financial crisis in the state deteriorated, paying state workers has become top priority” and that “the payments will be brought back to order as soon as funds are available.”
According to the UERJ deputy dean, payroll for working and retired faculty and staff totals $25 million a month, and the basic running cost to maintain all university campuses is $7 million.
*With additional radio reporting by Joana Moscatelli
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Funding delays could lead to Rio state uni shutdown