USP between two strikes

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By ANTÔNIO DAVID*

When there are achievements resulting from student mobilizations, these most often do not directly benefit those who participated in the mobilization, but future generations

Twenty-one years after the student strike that demanded the hiring of 256 professors for the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences – FFLCH, once again the students, now from various units of the University of São Paulo – USP, decided to take the initiative and enter on strike. Among the demands, the main one is the hiring of 1.683 teacherss for USP. Not without reason: between 2014 and 2022, the university lost 941 active professors, while the number of students continued to grow during this period, and everything indicates that it will continue to grow.[1]

Each of these strikes is a child of its time. Not only are the events that were decisive in triggering one or the other not the same; The circumstances are also diverse – in which I include the situation of the left, which is also different, with greater fragmentation and with different priorities and aspirations. This does not prevent, nor make it less valid and useful, the exercise of contrasting one experience with another, exercise similar to that did Lincoln Secco recently.

X-ray of the 2002 student strike

The 2002 strike began in May and ended in August. It lasted just over three months. The weeks that preceded its outbreak, of intense agitation, made the difference so that, once it began, there was no emptying. In a world in which there were no smartphones or social networks, weekly visits to the classroom, the use of murals and ostentatious leafleting appeared to be indispensable as forms of information circulation and mobilization. Participation fluctuated, but, in the more than one hundred days of strike, in general activities, inside and outside the campus, they were full.[2]

There were groups among the students active in the strike, all left-wing, some of which were linked to political parties. But the initiative was diffuse. The one that perhaps caught the most attention was Fúria: a group of students occupied one side of the avenue where FFLCH is located and, there, organized a camp, alongside which political, cultural, artistic and recreational activities took place. There were also individual initiatives: at one point, a student created a structure with balloons that read “FFLCH” and placed it in the Pinheiros River. It was common for unorganized students, usually groups of friends, to write pamphlets in defense of hiring teachers to be distributed off campus. In short, it was a strike carried out by many.[3]

Another dimension of the 2002 struggle was the agenda of demands. 256 teachers was not a random number. Alongside the mobilization, it was the students who collected and analyzed data on students, teachers, areas and classes, and who arrived at this total. The fact that there was a well-founded agenda made a difference in the movement gaining legitimacy, as well as in negotiations with the rectory.

Change in the student movement and resurgence of power at USP

The occupation of the rectory in 2007, students' reaction to decrees of the then governor José Serra and which in practice implied a policy of restricting the autonomy of state universities in São Paulo, marks an inflection in the student movement at USP, exposing and consolidating a transformation that had already been announced underground – a process that, in truth, was taking place at a national.

Before, mobilizations prioritized struggles for achievements, of which the FFLCH strike was a milestone at USP. In some way, the student movement between the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the following decade mimicked the institutional left of its time, focused on union and electoral struggles. Admittedly, not everyone had this perspective. There weren't a few who didn't see themselves in her. But this was the perspective of a number of students large enough to direct the student entities and the movement.

By the middle of the decade, the left was already different. The contradictory meanings of the Lula government and, later, of Dilma Rousseff's government, and the fragmentation of the institutional left echoed in the USP student movement, which, however, exceeded this same left. The aspirations of ever-increasing numbers of students active in the movement no longer fit into what left-wing parties offered.

Fatigue and disinclination towards the institutional left grew, due to the pragmatic and conciliatory character of the Workers' Party - PT, but also due to the distrust that organizations to the left of the PT gave rise to. Thus, in the student movement, the struggle for conquests gave way to struggles of resistance and, with them, to struggles of confrontation. An energy that will lead to the political events of 2013 and 2014 at a national level.[4]

Therefore, it is not surprising that the priority of the USP student movement in the late 1990s and early 2000s was the salary campaign carried out by the USP Teachers' Association – ADUSP and the USP Workers' Union – SINTUSP, putting together their agendas and its mobilization to agendas and the mobilization of workers and teachers. From 2006 onwards, the salary campaign lost importance for the student movement, and in the following decade it was almost no longer important for students. In the same direction, the USP Student Congress, which took place every two years, when the agenda of the student movement was being formed, also lost importance, until it finally stopped happening.

This change is linked to another, internal to USP. During this period, the university saw a striking resurgence in the exercise of power with the administrations João Grandino Rodas (2010-2013)[5] e Marco Antônio Zago (2014-2017). Due to the repressive and authoritarian policy against movements, militants and entities, which was not seen in previous administrations – not even in the Jacques Marcovitch administration (1998-2001), with which the student movement had very tough clashes –, but also due to the administrative and academic status of each. Not by chance, it was during this period that right-wing students organized themselves to compete in the student movement – ​​a phenomenon, in fact, of national reach.

João Grandino Rodas adopted a spending and investment policy seen by many as irresponsible, and which led to a serious financial crisis.[6] Despite being disastrous, such a policy was in no way irrational, but rather followed a strategy: compromising the budget to make salary increases for teachers and staff unfeasible.[7] and, with that, suffocate and bury the union movement at USP. From this perspective, it cannot be said that Rodas' strategy was not, in the end, and at least in part, successful. The intriguing thing is that the small crowd of political analysts who are paranoid about what they call “populism”, and who at USP have always vociferated against the so-called “populism” of ADUSP and SINTUSP, conveniently refrained from calling João Grandino Rodas a populist .

Marco Antônio Zago, in turn, responded to the crisis with a financial restructuring policy that, while containing one side of the crisis, worsened it on the other. It was then that the number of active teachers began to fall, and would continue to fall under Vahan Agopyan's administration (2018-2021), until reaching the current level.

João Grandino Rodas' successor, Marco Antônio Zago has always avoided taking any responsibility for the crisis caused by his predecessor's administration, despite being part of the core of power in the university's central administration – Zago was pro-rector of research during the period – and Rodas’ decisions that led to the crisis were public knowledge. In testimony to the CPI of Universities in the Legislative Assembly, given on August 28, 2019, Marco Antônio Zago even declared, speaking about himself and the other pro-rectors: “we knew very little about the financial dynamics of the University”.[8] Believe whoever you want.

In that same session, Marco Antônio Zago also declared: “in the previous December [2013], the day before, exactly on the eve of the election, the Rectory had distributed 539 new vacancies for hiring teachers, which if they were to be implemented would greatly worsen the situation of financial imbalance”, and added: “So, throughout my mandate, starting in the first days, right after taking office, and continuing in the following years, measures were taken directly by the Rectory or proposals to the University Council, which always approved them, the following measures. First: suspension of all personnel hiring, including replacements for retired or dismissed employees. Revocation of the ordinances that had granted 539 new teaching positions on the eve of the election”.

Despite having followed Marco Antônio Zago's administrative and academic policy, especially the policy of not hiring teachers, Vahan Agopyan moved away from the repressive policy and disqualification and criminalization of the movement, which marked his predecessor's administration. The current rector, Carlos Gilberto Carlotti Júnior, who also does not seem to have an affinity with criminalizing and incriminating speeches, and whose profile as rector resembles that of Adolpho José Melfi (rector between 2002 and 2005), began his administration promising to hire professors and expand rights. It should not be a coincidence that the ongoing strike is a struggle for achievements.

Strikes and the USP power structure

Before the 2002 strike, the FFLCH administration had requested 115 new teachers from the rectory, but the latter offered only 12 teachers to the faculty, in negotiations that followed institutional protocol, between the central administration and the unit's administration. The news that reached the students through the college management was that there was no effective negotiation. That was the offer and that was the end of it. Negotiations actually only took place with the strike, due to pressure from students.

With the strike, after some rounds of negotiation and tergiversation, when the negotiations were led by the then vice-rector Hélio Nogueira da Cruz, in the round opened by the new negotiator for the rectory, the then pro-rector of research Luiz Nunes de Oliveira, he started the meeting with a phrase that I have never forgotten: “there was an error on the part of the rectory”. When talking about an error, Nunes mentioned the fact that the lack of teachers in the unit had not been taken into account by the rectory committee in charge of distributing new teachers (called the “claros committee”), at the time coordinated by the vice-rector. Days earlier, in a public hearing at the FFLCH History Amphitheater, face to face with a crowd of students, he still tried to explain the rectory's hiring policy. He didn't convince.

Having in hand two notebooks containing all FFLCH disciplines consolidated in the previous year, Luiz Nunes recognized that FFLCH needed 96 teachers to meet only the existing minimum demand, that is, without counting the opening of new lines of research.

What Luiz Nunes euphemistically called an “error” was actually the result of the exercise of arbitrary power. This was not a mistake, but a conscious and deliberate decision. At the beginning of the negotiations, we asked for the study that supported the offer of 12 teachers, prior to the strike, but this study was never presented, and nor could it: there was simply no study that supported that offer. Someone, or a group, who enjoyed positions and, therefore, positions of power in the central administration of USP, unscrupulously using this power, took a number out of their pocket, 12, and offered it to FFLCH, as if saying: “I I grant 12 because I want to grant 12.” A conduct in no way different from what historiography has conventionally called patrimonialism.

Hence it is safe to say: at USP, every strike is against the power structure, against a power exercised arbitrarily, often capriciously, and at the same time against a logic of power crossed by the immiscuity between the public and the private. This is an important lesson from the 2002 student strike and all strikes at USP. For every demand, every claim, is a demand and demand for something or against something that others, using a position of power, arbitrarily refuse to grant or want to impose. At USP, not even the members of the University Council actually take part in decisions, they only endorse them. It is against the effects of this logic of power that mobilizations take place. In this sense, every strike is political.

One of these demands that the power at USP repeatedly refused to grant were social and racial quotas. The case of quotas is particularly revealing because for a long time the central councils and most units did not even agree to discuss the subject, with occasional exceptions. In 2015 – therefore, when there was already a quota policy at the federal level –, the USP rectory, during the Zago administration, when questioned, said that “there is no prediction discussion of the topic”.

The pretexts always given for not having a debate – that is, for the summary rejection of the quota policy – ​​are well known. Shortly afterwards, Zago tried to circumvent the demand for quotas through adoption of Enem as a criterion for input. If today the demographic composition of USP undergraduate students is clearly different compared to twenty years ago, it was thanks to the pressure of movements in the last decade – including the attempt to occupy the rectory in 2015 –, especially the history of the black movement, from inside and outside USP.[9]

Contrary to what is commonly alleged, such a power structure is not meritocratic, as it is not based on academic merit. These are interest groups, made up of a few individuals, who, taking advantage of a status quo and associating themselves according to particular interests, they occupy positions of power through which they operate in the logic of distributing scarce goods (material and symbolic), favor and privilege. And, often, also intimidation, threats and retaliation.

The structure and logic of power from which they benefit is reproduced by their action, perpetuating itself as a closed circuit. The access of new individuals to groups that compete for and share power is controlled. As academics, researchers and teachers, these individuals have academic merit, but this has nothing to do with the possession and exercise of power at USP, for which not only academic merit, but academic decorum itself has little value.

At the same time, one of the reasons why this power structure perpetuates itself is the fact that it is replicated in lower instances (units and departments), so that, at USP, anyone who occupies positions of power can, if want, exercise it arbitrarily. Not everyone does it, but the essential thing is that they could do it if they wanted, because the structure allows it. Thus, it is not uncommon to see the discretion of individuals invested with power and authority in decisions taken locally, and not only in the administrative sphere, but also in the academic sphere, generally with the consent of peers, who commonly naturalize this type of conduct – for which the alternative is “populism” –, or simply because they prefer to avoid headaches and personal exhaustion with questions and challenges. In the end, despite the power to make important decisions being in the hands of very few, the USP's power structure is such that it allows many to take advantage of the logic of power that prevails within it.[10]

Because it was this closed and autocratic power structure at USP that allowed Rodas to arbitrarily adopt irresponsible policies that led to the financial crisis, with the consent of his peers in the central administration, and that allowed Zago to arbitrarily initiate a policy that involved not hiring teachers for several years. If I highlight both, Rodas and Zago, it is because the current crisis has its origins in the management of both, which, although opposite on the surface, deep down complement each other. Rodas produced adversity, and Zago turned it into opportunity.

The symbolic power and legitimacy of movements

One of Rodas' arbitrary measures was the move of the rectory's headquarters from blocks K and L of the USP Residential Complex – CRUSP to the building located between the banks and the School of Communication and Arts – ECA. Few at the time noticed that the motivation for the change was mainly symbolic, linked to the possession and exercise of symbolic power. Firstly, because it took the rectory out of an uncomfortable position, between CRUSP and FFLCH, and moved it to the center of USP. Secondly because, with the renovation of the new headquarters and its enclosure, Rodas moved the headquarters of ADUSP and SINTUSP, which were previously located exactly where the rectory went (that is, in the center), to the edge of USP, where they still today they meet.[11]

These changes also had a material dimension in that they made it more difficult for students and teaching and non-teaching staff active in the movement to meet, on a campus that was already designed and built to separate, divide and make meetings difficult.

Like his predecessor, on several occasions Zago made public statements against movements in order to disqualify, delegitimize and criminalize them – and, not infrequently, incriminate them. In his inauguration speech as rector, Zago declared that USP “has been threatened by the corrosion of the very fabric of the university, both by protest movements that have turned into attacks on heritage and people and by intolerance to dialogue”. The most surprising thing is not the statement itself, but the fact that Zago stated that this supposed “threat” was “more serious” than the financial crisis.

Every act of appointment matters. When taking positions and speeches like these, it makes all the difference to name them for what they are: symbolic violence. In the case of Zago's aforementioned speech, a violence that simply reverses roles: by gratuitously attributing to student and union entities and those who engage in the mobilizations the label of threateners and aggressors, it is this speech that is violent.

One of Zago's attacks on the student movement, coated with symbolic violence, was the decision to take control of the organization of elections for student representation within official collegiate bodies away from student entities, control which was transferred to the rectory and unit administrations. To the extent that Jacques Marcovitch tentor adopt in 2000, without success. In this ocasion, Zago articulated the change with right-wing students who occupied seats on the University Council. These claimed that the elections were not representative, and, in an effort to persuade others of this, at the end of each election they lightly launched and spread accusations of fraud, of which, however, there was never any evidence.

Until then, elections for student representation on central councils took place alongside the election for the management of the Central Student Directory – DCE. There was registration of tickets with prior publicity, there were open debates with wide publicity, the tickets distributed their proposals throughout the campus in pamphlets and newspapers, and students voted knowing what they were voting for. It is worth mentioning that the distribution of student representation was proportional, respecting the percentage of votes for each ticket. Today, students receive an email notification the day before the (online) vote, not before, and, on the day of the vote, the only information available is the names of the candidates and nothing else.

In short, a form of democratic and participatory election was changed to a form of election along the lines of the USP power structure: with very little information, almost secret, without any discussion. It's because? Because Zago wanted it. A capricious decision that had no other motivation than an individual's contempt for the student movement. Here too, we can observe the arbitrary exercise of symbolic power, of disauthorization and disqualification of the student movement and its entities. The testimony observed in the note that the DCE released at the time: “When delivering the documents, we were intimidated with irony and infantilization of our historical methods, implying that we would not have the RDs filed, because according to them [the rectory] the elections are not legitimate” (emphasis mine).[12]

Pickets and the attitude of teachers during strikes

Whenever the buzz of a student strike begins to circulate, the yellow lights go out among the teachers. But the truth is that, among these, the positions tend to be the most distinct, from the refusal of strikes as a matter of principle to active and militant support, going through a multitude of intermediate positions.

It is likely that today, twenty-one years later, a memory or a favorable opinion of the 2002 strike predominates among FFLCH teachers. After all, the majority of current active FFLCH teachers were hired for the vacancies won by the 2002 strike – because all vacancies opened since then were the result of that strike. Many of these were, at the time, students at FFLCH itself, either undergraduate or postgraduate. If provoked to say what they think about that experience, I believe that most of them will recognize the justice and importance of that strike and its results, but it is equally likely that few will say that there was a picket. However, there was.

In 2002, a significant number of teachers resisted the strike, especially at the beginning. Mainly in Philosophy and Social Sciences courses. For the strike to happen, that is, for the decisions of the course assemblies to be respected, it was necessary to picket – an action also approved in the assemblies.

At the time, the picket blocked not the buildings, but the classrooms. During the Philosophy course, someone more witty stacked the desks in one of the rooms and wrote on the board “The Bienal is here”, in allusion to the São Paulo Biennale that was taking place at that time. Because of the pickets on the course, one of the teachers called the students “Hitler Youth”. There were those who took advantage of the open space in mass media outlets to discredit the movement.

In all courses, the teachers who criticized the pickets generally did so under the argument that the action was the work of a minority – an argument that, coming from teachers, had no other effect than to sound ridiculous: after all, who is responsible? determine what is the majority position among the students if not the students themselves, and through an assembly? The student movement does not need the tutelage of teachers – and, everyone will agree, they have more to do than take part in the disputes of the student movement.

In a short time, the situation stabilized. Resistance was overcome. It only grew again in the final weeks, as pressure to end the strike. But, in general, the majority of teachers supported the movement. The congregation met several times, being open to a larger number of students. There was interest in the strike, even a certain enthusiasm. Rodrigo Ricupero, a postgraduate student at the time, remembers seeing Nicolau Sevcenko in a line waiting to pick up a pamphlet. There were those who actively supported it. Maria Aparecida de Aquino and Olgária Matos gave a public class in front of the Municipal Theater, as a strike activity. Particularly important was the public event at the Camargo Guarnieri Amphitheater with the “notables” (among which Antônio Cândido, Aziz ab'Saber, Octávio Ianni, Marilena Chauí and Chico de Oliveira). In negotiations with the rectory, the presence of Renato Queirós (then vice-director), Ariovaldo Umbelino and Zilda Iokoi was fundamental.

When one takes into account the support of the majority of FFLCH faculty and staff for the 2002 strike, even those who had reservations or disagreed with the students on this or that point, it is not unreasonable to say that, in a sense, the 2002 strike It was from FFLCH.

In the following years, with the greater frequency of strikes – union and student –, occupations and pickets, and with a wave of young teachers trained in the wake of neoliberalism, resistance to strikes increased. The feeling and opinion, which has always been around USP, also grew, that there is something unseemly about strikes, it is “a trade unionist thing”. In my second degree, studying a subject in Literature, I remember a teacher who always came to the class to greet the teacher in charge (whom he was friends with) before the class started, and, amid jokes and superfluous conversations, which took a few minutes, this teacher had the habit of, addressing his students, criticizing ADUSP, only then to say goodbye and continue on his way.

There is no doubt that similar, growing hostility was fueled by Rodas and Zago, whose speeches and actions against the movements at USP were in line with the criminalization of the left and the rapidly growing social movements in society. And as we know today, the image of the student movement as a horde of unbalanced people who put heritage at risk, as seen in Zago's inauguration speech as rector, was a school of thought.

Therefore, I want to end this testimonial article again with the 2002 strike and to pay tribute to Francis Henrik Aubert, then director of the FFLCH. During the course of the strike, at no time did Professor Francis disqualify or attempt to intimidate the movement. On the contrary, he always behaved kindly and respectfully towards the strikers, including when expressing his differences regarding our points of view, tactics and decisions. But he did more. From start to finish, he defended the legitimacy of the strike, the agenda and the strikers, inside and outside USP, always as director – a stance he maintained even at the beginning of August, when he believed that the strike should be ended. He knew that the strike was a student strike, and that it was not up to the management to force the students to end the strike. I have no doubt that his stance, as well as that of many other teachers, contributed to the success of the strike. His conduct, as director of FFLCH, was exemplary: an example of decency, coherence and honesty.

In a university whose power is held and exercised under the myth of meritocracy, it is instructive to look at the decision of Interdepartmental Center for Translation and Terminology of the faculty to name his laboratory after Francis Henrik Aubert, and to do so in the lifetime of the one to whom one honors. Proof that academic merit has nothing to do with possession and exercise of power, a pretext to justify discretion, but only with recognition.

Students and the defense of public, free, democratic and quality universities

Another lesson to be learned from the trajectory of struggles, mobilizations and strikes at USP is that, in all situations in which precariousness intensified or in which USP was attacked – as in the episode of governor José Serra's decrees –, it was the students who stood up and took the initiative to defend the university. If it weren't for the student movement, USP would be in a much worse situation. There would be far fewer teachers. The quality of teaching and research would be compromised. There would be no permanence policy and many of the rights we have today. If the same cannot be said about quotas, adopted thanks to the struggle and pressure of the black movement, the student movement added to it. Perhaps there would not even be university autonomy.

From one generation to another, students make use of their right to act, to demand and to oppose because they realize and understand that the decisions of the university administration interfere with their study and working conditions – therefore, in their lives. Therefore, those who oppose the ideal of democracy at the university, and who confuse democracy with “populism”, not only paint a caricatured and crude image of students, staff and even teachers – equally coated with symbolic violence; consciously or not, in practice their refusal of democracy at the university is nourished by the idea that, in the university community, the lives of some are not worth more than the lives of others. A portrait of Brazil.

It is not much to remember that, when there are achievements resulting from student mobilizations, these most often do not directly benefit those who participated in the mobilization, but the generations to come. There is, in the student movement, a generosity that the students themselves are often not aware of. For most of those involved in the ongoing strike, it will be no different. On the other hand, if they can study and fight today, it is because today's rights are the result of the struggles and achievements of the generations that came before. The present action is entangled by history, and it is crucial to know it.[13]

Antonio David is a PhD student in Social History at FFLCH-USP.

Originally published on Maria Antonia Newsletter, year 4, no. 7, 08 Oct. 2023.

Notes


[1] According to the USP Statistical Yearbook, between 1998 and 2002, FFLCH gained 22 teachers, going from 340 to 362 active teachers. However, in that same period, the number of undergraduate students jumped by almost 15%, from 8.879 to 10.190, while the number of postgraduate students varied by just over 17%, from 3.710 to 4.355. Thus, in 2002, the proportion of undergraduate students per active professor reached 28,15 at FFLCH, the highest in the entire historical series from 1998 to 2022, considering all units. The proportion calculation is mine. Data taken from the 1999 and 2003 editions. In relation to USP currently, according to the Statistical Yearbook, there were 5.984 active professors in 2014, and 5.043 in 2022. In the same period, the number of undergraduate students increased from 57.700 to 59.313, and the number of postgraduate students increased from 32.690 to 33.727. The same Statistical Yearbook reports that, between 1989 and 2022, USP lost 8,44% of its teaching staff, while the number of enrolled undergraduate students jumped 88,48%, and the number of enrolled postgraduate students jumped 127,89%. It is important to note: the situation today is not the same among USP units: while in some units the ratio of students per active teacher is less than 5, in other units the ratio exceeds 20. Data taken from the 2015 and 2023 editions .

[2] There is a demographic aspect that favored the non-emptying: as the largest unit at USP, at the time FFLCH had more than 10 thousand undergraduate students and more than 4 thousand postgraduate students – more than the entire UNICAMP.

[3] Many of these initiatives left records. The historian Rosa Udaeta, at the time a student and striker, participated in the work of organizing and cataloging the material and, later, wrote an academic article about the 2002 strike archive, published in the magazine Angelus Novus. I also recommend the book organized by historian Maria Lígia Coelho Prado, News from a university: the FFLCH/USP student strike. São Paulo: Humanitas, 2003. (Initiation Series, n. 7). As the historian, and striker at the time, Gabriel Passetti shows in the chapter “History of the FFLCH/USP-2002 student strike”, the movement’s actions – including the Fury – were tactics adopted by the movement in light of the movement (negotiations, statements, actions) of the rectory in relation to the strike. I still recommend the article by Passetti published in the virtual magazine Klepsidra.

[4] It is worth noting too much: this is a very schematic reading. In both moments there were struggles for conquest and struggles for confrontation. Above all, there were disputes within the movement around priorities and actions. I'm talking about what polarized the movement at one time and the next.

[5] In the internal election carried out by the electoral college and which would define the triple list, in 2009, Rodas came in second place. It had 104 votes. Among the credentials he accumulated to be chosen by the then governor José Serra, two positions were important, both as director of the Faculty of Law: having called the Military Police – PM to vacate the Faculty of Law in 2007, when students and social movements occupied the building, and defended this same measure when occupying the rectory. Under the political leadership of Rodas, some members of the University Council pressured the then rector, Suely Vilela (2006-2009), to call the PM to vacate the rectory. She refused to do so.

[6] Em interview with Jornal do Campus granted at the end of his term, Rodas declared, regarding the financial reserves that came from previous administrations: “That ICMS money is not for storing, it is for spending” (JC, Nov. 06, 2015). Such expenses involved the hiring of 2.414 thousand non-teaching employees – a significant proportion of whom had a higher education degree –, the acquisition of properties and the distribution of funds to teachers, staff and students through changes in career policy, bonuses and scholarships. Commitment to payroll at USP went from 79% in 2014 to 100% in 2022.

[7] The salary increase that occurred during his administration, which many people talked about at the time, occurred due to changes in employees' careers, not due to salary replacement on the base date.

[8] The statement can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=WYA4lMoUZio (from 1h20m onwards). Zago sought to displace his image from that of Rodas during the campaign for rector. When he took over as rector, Zago opened an administrative case against Rodas. The process was annulled by the Federal Court because the president of the processing committee, Maria Sylvia Di Pietro, could not, as a senior professor, occupy this role.

[9] The demand for racial quotas entered the agenda of the USP student movement in the early 2000s, but only formally. For many years, there were almost no concrete actions from the USP student movement in favor of quotas. It was only in the middle of the following decade, in the midst of the quota policy at the national level, that the movement actually embraced the agenda, which had long before been demanded by the black movement, both inside and outside USP, with emphasis on the performance of the USP Black Consciousness Center. Until then, there was resistance to racial (and even social) quotas among students, whose positions were quite divided, even among those who were active in the student movement. It is symptomatic the editorial of no. 43 of the ADUSP magazine, 2008, in which reference is made to “reservations regarding quotas, especially ethnic or racial ones” – despite the reservations, the editorial defends the measure. Just before, in 2004, edition no. 33 of the magazine opened space for positions for and against, equally symptomatic of the division of the teaching movement at the time. The student movement was no different. Even so, as it was already part of the student agenda approved in Congress, already in that decade there was attempts, on the part of the student movement, to open the discussion with the collegiate bodies of the USP administration (rectorate and units) about quotas, but without success. With occasional exceptions, USP authorities refused to discuss the topic. As for arguments against quotas, take, for example, the article written by former dean José Goldemberg (1986-1989), or, more recently, the article written by former USP professor Fernando Reinach – who left the university in 2000 to dedicate himself to the private sector – and published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul on November 26, 2022, in which, among other things, he criticizes hetero-identification boards – which he calls “ridiculous boards”.

[10] I believe that this logic is not different from that which permeates and colonizes institutions, mentalities and practices in Brazil. I also believe that the university locus is, at least among us, a privileged environment to examine the functioning of what Foucault called petty power, and what Philipe Pettit calls domination.

[11] The ADUSP headquarters were on the ground floor of the current rectory, on the side, facing the ECA Department of Cinema, Radio and Television, and the SINTUSP headquarters were in the building where the ECA cafeteria operates. Today, the headquarters of SINTUSP and ADUSP are next to the Capital Campus City Hall.

[12] The measure had an ironic outcome. With the transfer of control of the elections to the rectory, a new method was adopted, which consisted of voting for individual candidates, with voters being able to choose more than one candidate up to the total number of seats on the council. This method implied, in practice, converting the composition of student representation from proportional to majority, since the candidates with the most votes tended to be from the same political field. What happened from then on, from one election to another, was that candidates from right-wing groups, as they were less organized than candidates from left-wing groups, received fewer votes than the latter, and were, as a result, jettisoned. of student representation – thanks to the undemocratic method that they themselves helped to create.

[13] I thank Caetano Patta, Fernado Sarti Ferreira and Lincoln Secco for reading. Responsibility for the text is entirely mine.


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  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Impasses and solutions for the political momentjose dirceu 12/06/2024 By JOSÉ DIRCEU: The development program must be the basis of a political commitment from the democratic front
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • A myopic logicRED MAN WALKING _ 12/06/2024 By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL: The government does not have the political will to make education a priority, while it courts the military or highway police, who do not move a millimeter away from the Bolsonarism that they continue to support
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives

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