Several universities have spoken out to denounce the disappearance of students in Guadalajara, Jalisco, last week and to send a clear message to authorities: “That’s enough!”
The body of one of the missing students — 18-year-old César Ulises Arellano — was found Sunday in the Barranca de Oblatos (Oblatos Canyon) by personnel from the state Attorney General’s office, which declared that he had taken his own life.
One female student was found unharmed the day after her disappearance but three male film students who went missing together March 19 remain unaccounted for.
The Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) issued a statement saying that it “deeply regretted” the current situation of insecurity in the country, which it said contributed to the students’ disappearances in Jalisco.
The public university demanded that authorities guarantee the security “of all Mexicans” and called for full investigations to be carried out in the cases of every single disappeared student, “including those which occurred in recent weeks.”
Five local police officers in Tonalá, a municipality located within the Guadalajara metropolitan area, were arrested last week in connection with the missing film students but a judge later ordered their release, ruling their arrest had been illegal.
Through its human rights program, the Ibero-American University said it considered disappearances in Jalisco, including those of three Italians in Tecalitlán on January 31, “shocking and worrying.”
“The students and the Europeans are among 14,000 disappeared persons in Jalisco in the last four years,” its statement said.
More than 300,000 people, including students, faculty and support staff at the University of Guadalajara (UdeG) staged a two-hour strike last Friday to protest the disappearances.
Chancellor Miguel Ángel Navarro said there is great concern about the insecurity that affects both students and other residents of the state.
Former UdeG head Tonatiuh Bravo Padilla called for an investigation into Arellano’s death to give certainty to the people of Jalisco.
He also urged authorities not to stop looking for Javier Salomón Aceves Gastélum, 25, Jesús Daniel Díaz García, 20, and Marco Francisco García Ávalos, 20 who were kidnapped by armed men in Tonalá.
Students at the Audiovisual Media University (CAAV), where the three young men studied, released a video expressing their anger at their disappearance as well as their fear about the security situation they face.
The Jesuit University of Guadalajara (ITESO) also issued a statement condemning the crimes, expressing solidarity with the victims and their families and friends and imploring authorities to take action.
“. . . We urge authorities to fulfill their duty of guaranteeing security and social peace and for them to deliver justice promptly, and for everyone, so that these deplorable events don’t go unpunished and are never repeated.”
In addition to the outcry of anger, the Guadalajara Federation of University Students (FEU) has demanded full transparency from the Jalisco government in its investigation into what really happened to Arellano.
In a statement entitled “We Want Peace,” students said that it was “irresponsible” for state Governor Aristóteles Sandoval to publicly announce the presumed cause of the medical student’s death before the investigation concluded.
The state has announced a 1-million-peso reward for information regarding the whereabouts of the students who are still missing.