Luis R. Perez Lasalle

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Asemblea - 5-2010 UNK

Asemblea – 5-2010 UNK


Disclaimer: The following rant contains some “foul language” and some anti political expressions. If you are offended by this, if you are against foul language or if your belief in your political party is so great that you can’t allow other points of view then do me a favor and look elsewhere. If you aren’t bothered by a bit of harsh language or from views other than your own then feel free to read on.

“Let Mob Mentality reign supreme!” That’s what I sarcastically screamed during the impromptu assembly held at one of the entrance gates to the Colegio on October 8th 2009. But I’m getting ahead of myself in this little rant. Let’s go back to the beginning. A 48 hour strike was issued on Tuesday October 6th to protest the alleged purchasing of one of the UPR campuses by a private party. I cite this as the cause of the strike because that is what was discussed during the assembly held at one of the campus’ coliseum and that is what sparked the students to rally together.

Here is where I began to get suspicious about the true nature of the strike. No true information was given, no sources mentioned, not even a newspaper article was shown to give the students evidence that the public college campuses where to be bought off by a private company. I began asking myself: “Is the student body really stupid enough to forget that the real reason for the strikes was originally to protest the Ley 7 act and to protest against the firing of over sixteen thousand government employees?” After witnessing first hand the October 8th assembly I came to the following answer: “Yes they are.”

I was using my free time during that 48 hour strike to prepare myself for a very difficult upcoming test on when a voice blasted from a megaphone outside my building urging everyone to head to the assembly that was about to be held at one of the gates to determine if the 48 hour strike was to be extended an extra day. As I live relatively close to that particular gate I set aside the studying and headed there to see just how organized the assembly would be. To my surprise a large number of students had stayed at Mayaguez and made their presence known at the assembly.

A quick history lesson about me to clarify my future ranting and political views: I hate politics and political fanatics in all shapes, sizes and political colors. Be them blue, red, green or yellow. Be them Republican or Democrat. I hate them all equally and with equal intensity. My family is full of political fanaticism and it took a while for me to realize that blindly following a political party left you with nothing but a headache and a sore throat but that is a story for another time. As I looked around the ever-growing crowd of students I noticed a few of them sporting large P.I.P. flags and large F.U.P.I. flags. Also a few others had signs depicting the current governor of Puerto Rico with eggs being thrown at him or with devil horns. And even one person handing out flyers with this “devil” image to anyone within his sight. One thought immediately came to my mind: “What the FUCK did any of that have to do with the assembly?”

I shook that thought from my head as soon as the group that had called the assembly began talking through a set of megaphones. A lot of words were spoken but not a lot was said by them, they spoke of the alleged sale of several of the UPR campuses, they spoke of the inevitable sale of the Mayaguez campus and they spoke of how this “injustice would not be tolerated”. They never mentioned any of the sources that had revealed to them the information they were divulging nor did they mention when the alleged sales of those campuses took place.

At this point I detected a strong scent coming from these speakers, after getting a deep breath of the scent I identified it as BULLSHIT. Plain and simple bullshit and I could tell I wasn’t the only one smelling it as I saw the doubtful expressions on the faces of the people around me. As the person on the megaphone continued talking he stated that the “only way to show the people in charge of the UPR that the students won’t allow the sale of their rights was to vote for an indefinite strike.” The speaker stood on top of a van proudly waiting for a loud cheer of approval from the crowd, instead he received a chorus of boo’s and no’s as the students shot down his proposal.

At this moment I imagined that the assembly would disband, but then I heard a truly amazing bit of information from the person on the megaphone. He stated that he had “received information that Banco Popular had approved a multi-million dollar loan to the private company Ana G. Mendez for an undisclosed purchase.” I waited for him to quote his source, to give the crowd a hint as to where he got this information all of a sudden but he never did. Instead I heard a single shout of resentment towards the UPR come from one of the flag bearers within the crowd and that small spark was all it took to ignite the crowd into a frenzy. They cheered for the speaker and voiced their disdain for the UPR selling off their campuses.

To this I screamed: “Let mob mentality reign supreme!” in a truly sarcastic tone followed by a shout of: “Where did you get that information?!?” but my voiced was drowned out by the mob’s screams. A few glares were directed towards me by the same flag bearers that I mentioned before. In response to their glares I smiled at them, it was a confident smile, a smile that showed that I was not only unafraid of them but also confident of my intelligence.

As the assembly went on the crowd continue to share a single collective mind, they would cheer in unison and boo in unison. It was amazing and scary at the same time since it showed how easily the majority of people there could be persuaded to a cause simply by stating some dubious “facts”. Not everyone was in favor of continuing the strike for an extra 24 hours. A brave girl tried to speak out and express a truly valid point that extending the strike would not solve anything, that the students needed to meet with the heads of the UPR to voice their opinions. But her voice was never heard as the moment she spoke against the collective mind her voice was silenced by a loud chorus of insults. She walked away from the microphone angrily as the crowd continued to insult her.

I stayed at the assembly until the very end, if only to continue observing the mob mentality at work. In the end intelligence and reason lost to fanaticism and false information, the strike continued for an extra day and an assembly was to be held on October 13th to decide if an indefinite strike would be called. Following the assembly the powers that be of the UPR sent numerous emails to the students not only stating that no campus had been sold but going as far as stating that no campus would ever be sold to a private company. The company Ana G. Mendez followed suit by publicly stating that they had no intention of purchasing any UPR campus and to top it all off Banco Popular issued a statement that killed off the rumor of the alleged multi-million dollar loan that they had allegedly approved. All this left me wondering: “How do you go from making a stand against a very real cause to making a stand against a completely made up cause?”  I have no answer for that. For now all I can do is wait  to see what the final decision will be.

But I can only think of the other side of the spectrum, the angry girl who tried to reason with a blind mob. Her views which I share. The views of the countless students who are one semester away from graduating and beginning their new lives as professionals. The countless students who have job offers that depend on them graduating this semester. The countless students who fought long and hard during adjustment days in UPR to get that one class they needed to keep their academic livelihood going. I think about them and I wonder if any of the speakers at these assemblies, if any of the flag carriers or sign carriers have the slightest clue that their mob mentality might ruin the lives of countless students simply so they can say they “fought injustice.” I hope for another assembly when classes start because I will be there and if another strike is called I will be there to voice against it. I won’t allow mob mentality to ruin my semester or the semester of so many people I know who depend on it to graduate. Its time to kill off mob mentality and start using our intelligence and reason to dictate the future of our college.

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