Leonardo Lomelí will lead the work of the UNAM for the period 2023-2027 (UNAM)
Leonardo Lomelí Vanegas, the new rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), rejected the accusations of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who after his appointment assured that the highest house of studies has become an elitist space.
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In an interview with Joaquín López-Dóriga for Radio Formula, Enrique Graue Wiechers’ successor indicated that 80% of UNAM students are low-income, so it cannot be considered an elitist university.
“I do not think so. I believe that by necessity, the University does have to have academic rigor, but that does not translate into elitism. It is rather a requirement criterion necessary to study there.
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If we analyze the composition of our students, 80% of the students come from homes with incomes of less than four minimum monthly salaries; so in no way is it an elitist institution,” he declared.
López Obrador spoke about the appointment of the UNAM Photos: Cuartoscuro
It was during the morning press conference, held from Baja California, where the federal president reacted to the appointment of Leonardo Lomelí.
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“I hope that the direction of recent times at UNAM changes because they have greatly limited its progress and the approach of the university to the people. “It has become an elitist university,” he commented.
Furthermore, he stated that with Lomelí’s appointment there was really no change.
“It is our alma mater, it is a very important university, but it is the same group, there is no change. I believe that he was secretary of the current rector, Graue, and close to Lorenzo Córdova and Ciro Murayama. But hey, they already decided,” he said.
The federal president showed his rejection of the origins of the new rector of the UNAM.
After the statements of the leader of the Executive, Lomelí did not hesitate to show pride for having served as general secretary of the UNAM during the Graue periods; which is why many consider him his right-hand man.
“I am part of Rector Graue’s administration and I am very proud. Of course I also have my own visions on some University issues, I believe that in an institution a successful combination of continuity and change should always be achieved,” he said.
It should be noted that, during the morning of November 10, López Obrador also stated that Lomelí must demonstrate that he is different from José Ramón Narro Robles y Graue, the last two rectors of the academic institution.
In this regard, Lomelí assured that change always has to be founded. “There will be continuity in many things, but there will also be many other changes in the institution,” he added.
On the other hand, in relation to the criticism of his origins as an economist – also made by López Obrador – Lomelí pointed out that he was always critical of neoliberal economic policy.
“I would say that several of the professors at the Faculty of Economics were among the first to warn of the risks of the so-called neoliberal model, since the 80s, since this structural change began with the debt crisis,” he stated.
The dean also reiterated his willingness to dialogue with the federal government.
“I have had the opportunity to talk and do interesting things with members of the current government. We are in the best position to collaborate in everything that is good for the country,” he concluded.
Lomelí will be in charge of the UNAM direction starting next November 17 and until 2027.