The attack on democracy at UFSCar

Image: Hamilton Grimaldi


No to opportunism, imposed facts and the rupture of democratic processes!

The Federal University of São Carlos has a tradition of engagement and struggle for democracy. It was created in the troubled year of 1968, as the first Federal University in the interior of São Paulo. So far, it is, in fact, the only one that is not located in the vicinity of greater São Paulo. Rooted in political struggles for amnesty and the country's redemocratization, the libertarian, avant-garde and democratic spirit present in its history and of fundamental importance for the autonomy and excellence of academic research, overflows to the region in which it is located and leaves its unmistakable mark and indelible in society. It is not uncommon for people with a prominent role at the University to also assume a prominent political role, the prime examples of which are rectors Newton Lima and Oswaldo Barba, who became mayors of São Carlos and are present in the political life of the region.

One of the democratic signs and model of university autonomy is present in the electoral process of choosing the University's rector and vice-rector. Contrary to what happens in many Federal Universities, in which the nominees for the triple list (which is appreciated by the president of the republic and from which the university regents come) coincide with the first three candidates in the direct survey of the academic community, at UFSCar, the indication of the components of the list is made by the Electoral College. Let me explain: a survey is carried out prior to the academic community, with wide dissemination for the registration of slates and for the participation of the entire community (meaning: professors, administrative technicians and students), from which one of the slates is indicated as winner. Without disregarding this decision, the Electoral College, within the scope of the University Council, forms an Electoral Commission that hears the nominal votes of the members of the College. The first three nominated in this roll call appear, according to their placements, in the triple list.

In August of this year, UFSCar went through the process of nominating a rector and vice-rector, a process, it should be said, well regimented and in force for many years at the institution. Three slates signed up in the prior consultation with the community, which elected slate 70 with almost 2%, represented by professors Adilson de Oliveira (candidate for dean) and Maria de Jesus dos Reis (candidate for vice dean). In a meeting of the Electoral College, following all the rites provided for by the University's regiment, professors Adilson and Maria de Jesus also had a majority in the nominations by the collegiate and headed the triple list. Other members of slate 2 were also nominated and appeared on the list, according to the ranking order in the roll call; slate members 3 and 1, who ranked second and third respectively in the preliminary poll, received no Electoral College nominations.

And then there was an unprecedented and very serious attack on university autonomy and freedom: professors Fernando Manuel Araújo Moreira and Fernanda de Freitas Anibal, who ran for ticket 1 in the prior consultation (obtaining 9% of the total votes) and who did not receive indication by the collegiate, filed a legal action to annul the preparation of the triple list. In tune with the speech of Weintraub, the former Minister of Education who tried to impose the obligation for all Federal Universities to make lists based on the results of direct polls to the academic community, disregarding the regulated role of the Electoral College, professors Fernando and Fernanda require the creation of new lists, in which their names would possibly appear. As a result of this, the electoral process at UFSCar is suspended, until a judicial decision is made on the merits of the matter. These facts create a terrible expectation: that of the appointment of an intervenor to the highest positions at the university.

Faced with the harmonious climate and the integration between the different instances that took part in the electoral process, which has always been recognized and respected, the attempt to disturb it by intending to dilute regimental norms repels the academic community, as it hurts an entire process built collectively and tries to silence the decision of the 20.018 professors, administrative technicians and students who saw in professors Adilson and Maria de Jesus the representatives of their will. It also hurts the majority decision of the Electoral College and the University Council. May these voices not be silenced! May the history of this University not be tainted by these attacks! This situation is not consistent with the spirit that guided the creation of the Federal University of São Carlos and with the democratic role that it has played in the five decades of its existence. And let it be said loud and clear: No to opportunism, imposed facts and the rupture of democratic processes!

* Ana Carolina Soliva Soria Professor at the Department of Philosophy at UFSCar.


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