Puerto Rico: The University Protest seen through Online Video

Students wave the Puerto Rican Flag

The University of Puerto Rico month long protest against budget cuts is still going strong, and through online video and other social media outlets the students hunkered down inside the Rio Piedras campus have kept the information flow active. The students are protesting against cost-cutting measures which would eliminate artistic and sport scholarships, as well as those for students who excel in academics, which would lead to many of those in the lower income brackets without access to higher education.

This student movement has stood out for its incredibly creative and extensive use of blogs and social media as communication platforms. Students, supporters, and detractors, have opened blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts, Internet-based radio stations, and shot videos related to the student strike that has turned a month old today. Alternative digital media has played a fundamental role in disseminating information about the strike. Students, and other groups, have had a space to voice their perspectives, thoughts, and feelings about what is happening to them without having to depend on the mainstream media.

Some citizen videos tell us what is going on inside the University of Puerto Rico grounds. For example this following video by Noelia González [es] shows the places where supporters of the protest on the outside are gathering food and drink for students for distribution to the inside. The students also take us on a tour of the grounds including makeshift showers, washing stations and how they are keeping the grounds free of trash. Outside, support is strong, as vox-pop interviewees state: the protest is a teachable moment and students are standing up for their rights.

This next video [es]shows how support is also coming from mainland USA. People marched in New York City to show their support for the students in Puerto Rico holding banners and signs:

This next video by Raymond O'Brien is a moving homage to all those protesting. The simple message, 1 University : 1 people needs no other words to tell the story. Instead images of the artistic marches, the parades, students and alumni singing and dancing their support to the public university they care about.

Carlos Marcial also added his tribute video and posted it on the net. In the video, some slips of paper and signs are show, and they read: “Sorry for the inconvenience, we are building a public university”

Co-written with Author Firuzeh Shokooh Valle.

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