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Sat Apr 20, 2024, 08:05 PM Apr 20

Argentina's Mileise: University chancellors warn Milei that money will only last until May

The problem afflicting Argentina's universities is easy enough to understand: despite annual inflation at 288%, their budgets for 2024 will be the same as in 2023 - reflecting deep budget cuts under the new, far-right Javier Milei administration.

Although the intention of increasing operating budgets by 65% was discussed, government officials continue to refuse to confirm the emergency hike.

Some universities have declared an economic emergency - restricting the number of students per course, moving out of rental offices, suspending the purchase of inputs, services and equipment or digging into their savings.

The University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine - whose teaching hospital cares for 1,000 mostly indigent patients daily - shut off lights to most of its buildings this week after its budget was cut by 26% in nominal terms, and 80% in real terms.

The neighboring School of Dentistry has reportedly run out of supplies for its graduate students.

“This was complicated by the fact that on Monday, we suffered the theft of computers,” Dean Pablo Rodríguez lamented. “This was due to these measures” - referring to the partial blackout.

Numerous grade schools in Buenos Aires and elsewhere have suffered a wave of similar thefts recently.


When the Milei administration took office in December, academics called for a 300% increase in this year's public university budgets - which last year received an already-modest 1.4 trillion pesos ($4.5 billion at the time) in federal funds for 55 universities with 2 million students between them.

Milei vetoed the request - though he later signed an agreement with Denmark to buy 24 Reagan-era F-16s (at $338 million a piece - excluding weaponry) that even war-torn Ukraine deemed unfit.

Many in academia say that unless the situation changes, they will not be able to guarantee classes beyond April or May.

The University of Buenos Aires - the nation's largest, and often ranked among the best in Latin America - “will have to close or not provide the functions we usually provide” Chancellor Ricardo Gelpi warned.

Students, faculty and supporters are planning a massive march on Tuesday to protest the funding crisis.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/milei-in-conflict-with-universities-chancellors-warn-money-will-only-last-til-may.phtml

University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine students take an outdoor class after lights at the prestigious institution - the nation's largest - were shut off due to both steep budget cuts and astronomical utility rate hikes of nearly 1000% since November.

Far-right President Javier Milei - elected that month on a wave of discontent against his center-left predecessor - frequently attacks academics as “shitty leftists,” while recently praising executives as “heroes for offshoring your dollars.”
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