Students protested at the National Autonomous University (UNAM) in Mexico City on Friday against the hiring of former presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya to teach a new political science course.
Protesters blocked access to the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences for four hours this morning, the newspaper Milenio reported. Among the signs held up by the students was one that read “nefarious people out of UNAM.”
Anaya, who represented the conservative National Action Party (PAN) in the 2018 presidential election, announced in August that he would teach a diploma course on contemporary Mexican politics at the university. It was scheduled to commence today.
Disgruntled students argued in a documented posted to social media that UNAM’s hiring of Anaya amounted to the “acceptance of the far right in our university.”
They also pointed out that the 40-year-old former lawmaker and PAN national president has been accused of money laundering and other corrupt activities.
Anaya “doesn’t just represent the most conservative power groups in Mexico but also the neoliberal technocracy that has historically attacked social conquests in favor of servility to foreign interests,” the students said.
One person who disagreed with today’s protest was political science student Adrián Salazar.
“This act affected the whole university community . . . A lot of students come from far away to study and they run into this. Besides, this group [of protesters] . . . has no tolerance for the diverse ideologies there are in the university,” he said.
Although Anaya had indicated that he would start teaching at UNAM on September 6, the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences said in a statement that he wasn’t scheduled to participate today, while the office of the ex-presidential hopeful told Milenio that he is currently in New York.
The statement also said that the members of the political science faculty are a “plural community in which individuals of the entire Mexican political spectrum collaborate.”
A range of other political figures ,including former presidential candidate, Mexico City mayor, senator and governor of Michoacán Cuauhtémoc Cardenas, will also teach parts of the new diploma course.