Education Solidarity Network http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org Global Solidarity to Defend Education Mon, 06 Aug 2012 11:53:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Take action to help protect Dr Beltran’s life http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2012/08/help-protect-dr-beltrans-life/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2012/08/help-protect-dr-beltrans-life/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 15:49:57 +0000 ucu campaigns http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=437 Dr Miguel Beltran is appealing against a decision by the National University of Bogota to refuse him an extension to his studies abroad and require him to return to Colombia.

If he does this, Dr Beltran’s life will be in danger. On his release from prison, Beltran has continued to face death threats, false accusations, and an unfounded disciplinary [...]]]> Dr Miguel Beltran is appealing against a decision by the National University of Bogota to refuse him an extension to his studies abroad and require him to return to Colombia.

If he does this, Dr Beltran’s life will be in danger. On his release from prison, Beltran has continued to face death threats, false accusations, and an unfounded disciplinary case by the Colombian Inspector General (Procuraduria), in addition to learning of plans for his assassination in Colombia. Beltran’s request for protection by the Colombian authorities was denied, and he was
forced to leave the country.

Now he faces the prospect of having to return to Colombia and live with the perpectual fear of assassination, or to remain abroad and lose his job.

Please help us to protect our colleague. Thousands of academics and education trade unions protested across the world to secure the release of Dr Beltran from prison.

The UCU and the CAUT have already written in protest at the University’s decision. You can read the CAUT’s statement here and the UCU’s latest letter can be read here.

We are asking education unions to send a letter petitioning the Council of the National University in Bogota to uphold Dr Beltran’s appeal. Please feel free to use the model text below.

Model letter text:

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTER TO:

Doctor Ignacio Mantilla. Rector Universidad Nacional de Colombia rectoriaun@unal.edu.co<mailto:rectoriaun@unal.edu.co
fax: 3165000

Profesor Sergio Bolaños Cuéllar. Decano Facultad Ciencias Humanas. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. dec_fchbog@unal.edu.co<mailto:dec_fchbog@unal.edu.co

On behalf of xxxx  union , we  urge you to accept Dr Miguel Beltran’s appeal for an extension of his sabbatical leave.

Dr Beltran has faced persecution by the Colombian state and endured more than two years in prison. On his release from prison he has continued to face death threats, false accusations, and an unfounded disciplinary case by the Colombian Inspector General (Procuraduria), in addition to learning of plans for his assassination in Colombia. Beltran’s request for protection by the Colombian authorities was denied, and he was forced to leave the country.

We understand that the National University has now denied Dr. Beltran’s request to extend his post doctorate research outside Colombia, and that he is expected to return to Bogota to continue his work, a situation which puts his life in grave danger.

Our union has actively campaigned within the international academic community on behalf of Dr Beltran. Academics and teachers across the world have spoken out in support of Dr Beltran and they continue to follow his case with interest and concern.

The National University has a responsibility to act to defend both academic freedom and the safety and security of its staff and the international academic community will be watching its actions.

I urge you to ensure that Dr Beltran is able to conduct his academic work in safety. I urge you to grant Dr Beltran’s appeal.

Yours sincerely,

xxxxxx

NB:

PLEASE ALSO SEND COPIES TO:
Profesor Pedro Hernández. Presidente Nacional Asociación, Sindical de Profesores Universitarios. pjhernandezc@gmail.com<mailto:pjhernandezc@gmail.com
Profesor Mario Hernández. Representante Profesoral al Consejo Superior Universitario mariohernandez62@gmail.com<mailto:mariohernandez62@gmail.com
Profesora Claudia Patricia Sierra. Representante Profesoral Facultad Ciencias Humanas cpsierrap@unal.edu.co<mailto:cpsierrap@unal.edu.co
Profesora Flor Alba Romero. Comisión de Convivencia. Universidad Nacional faromerome@unal.edu.co<mailto:faromerome@unal.edu.co>

Spanish version:

Petición de apoyo al Dr. Miguel Ángel Beltrán

De parte de la  xxxxxxx  quiero instarles a que acepten la apelación del Dr. Miguel Beltrán para prorrogar su comisión de estudios.

El Dr. Beltrán ha enfrentado persecución de parte del estado colombiano y ha padecido más de dos años en la cárcel. Al ser liberado ha seguido enfrentando amenazas de muerte, acusaciones falsas y un caso disciplinario sin fundamento de parte de la Procuraduría colombiana, además de recibir noticias sobre planes por su asesinato en Colombia. La solicitud del Dr. Beltrán de medidas de protección de las autoridades colombianas fue negado, y   obligado a salir del país.

Entiendo que la Universidad Nacional ha rechazado la solicitud del Dr. Beltrán para prorrogar sus estudios posdoctorales afuera de Colombia, y se espera que vuelva a Bogotá para seguir con su trabajo, una situación que pone en grave peligro su vida.

Nuestro sindicato ha alertado activamente dentro de la comunidad internacional la persecución que ha sido víctima el Dr. Beltrán. Mas de 4,000 académicos internacionales, incluyendo premios nobeles de la comunidad científica,  se han pronunciado en apoyo del Dr. Beltrán y siguen  su caso con interés y preocupación.

La Universidad Nacional tiene la responsabilidad de actuar para defender la libertad académica y la seguridad de su personal, y la comunidad académica internacional estará observando sus acciones.

Le insto a que que el Dr. Beltrán pueda realizar su trabajo académico de una manera que garantice su seguridad y en tal sentido se acepte su recurso de reposición.

Atentamente,

xxxxx

Beltran at UCU’s Congress 2012:

You can read all about Miguel’s emotional visit to the UK and to UCU’s annual Congress in Manchester earlier this year, as well as watching a message from him and reading his speech here.

 

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Miguel Beltran sends a message of thanks from UCU’s Congress http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2012/07/miguel-beltran-sends-a-message-of-thanks-from-ucus-congress/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2012/07/miguel-beltran-sends-a-message-of-thanks-from-ucus-congress/#comments Tue, 24 Jul 2012 13:11:43 +0000 ucu campaigns http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=404 UCU delegates gave a standing ovation to Colombian academic Miguel Beltran, the Colombian academic freed after an international campaign by education trade unionists. Miguel was imprisoned for more than two years for the nebulous crime of ‘rebellion’ and his academic research formed part of the prosecution’s evidence against him. Miguel was able to appear at this [...]]]> UCU delegates gave a standing ovation to Colombian academic Miguel Beltran, the Colombian academic freed after an international campaign by education trade unionists. Miguel was imprisoned for more than two years for the nebulous crime of ‘rebellion’ and his academic research formed part of the prosecution’s evidence against him. Miguel was able to appear at this year’s University and College Union Congress, held in Manchester in June because education trade unions and UCU members in particular launched an international campaign to force the Colombian government to confront academic community’s outrage. Find out more about this campaign here.

Watch Miguel’s message of thanks:

Miguel sent a short personal message of thanks to everyone who participated in the campaign to win his freedom which you can watch on youtube here

Read Miguel’s speech to Congress:

Miguel also gave a dignified and powerful speech which thanked delegates for the union’s work and which stressed that the persecution of trade unionists, teachers and academics continues in Colombia and he called for peace in his country. You can read his full speech here

View photos of Miguel at Congress here and here

The Times Higher magazine also carried a moving interview with Miguel, detailing his treatment in Colombia’s prisons, where he was incarcerated alongside drug traffickers, paramilitaries and other violent criminals and forbidden to see his newborn son.

Still working to ensure Miguel’s safety:

Despite his release, Miguel is stil in danger. Following serious death threats, Beltrán has been forced to live and work outside Colombia. However, his employer, the National University of Colombia, Bogotá, recently turned down a request to extend his sabbatical leave and has demanded that he return to campus. In the absence of any physical protection being guaranteed by the Colombian state, UCU and JfC are extremely concerned that Beltrán’s life will be in grave danger if he returns to Bogotá. Both organisations have written to President Santos calling on his to ensure Dr Beltran’s safety.

UCU Congress support for Justice for Colombia:

Following Miguel’s speech, UCU’s Congress also passed a motion which called on the union to campaign for the release of all Colombian political prisoners and for the protection of those who have been released, as well as support the Justice for Colombia campaign for a peace process and to encourage all UCU branches to affiliate to JfC. Find out more about the peace process campaign here. Read the UCU motions in English and Spanish

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‘The truth triumphs’: Dr Beltran finally released http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2011/06/the-truth-triumphs-dr-beltran-finally-released/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2011/06/the-truth-triumphs-dr-beltran-finally-released/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2011 17:18:00 +0000 ucu campaigns http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=398 UCU is delighted to announce that Dr Miguel Angel Beltran, the university professor imprisoned in Colombia since May 2009 was finally released this Tuesday 7th June, having been declared innocent of the spurious charges of ‘rebellion’ and ‘criminal conspiracy for terrorist purposes’.

Dr Beltran has endured two years in prison without conviction simply for publishing [...]]]> UCU is delighted to announce that Dr Miguel Angel Beltran, the university professor imprisoned in Colombia since May 2009 was finally released this Tuesday 7th June, having been declared innocent of the spurious charges of ‘rebellion’ and ‘criminal conspiracy for terrorist purposes’.

Dr Beltran has endured two years in prison without conviction simply for publishing articles and research critical of the Colombian government.

Alongside our sister education unions around the world, UCU has fought hard to demand his release and to defend academic freedom. This fantastic news is a vindication of our efforts and a significant step forward in the struggle for human rights in Colombia.

Dr Beltran was met at the gates of La Picota prison in Bogota on Tuesday by around 200 supporters, including family, academic colleagues and former students. On hearing the verdict Dr Beltran said ‘The truth triumphed, critical thought is not terrorism. They were two difficult years’.

Thank you to every union and every academic, from over 20 countries worldwide, who took part in the campaign. Read more here:  http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2408 and here: http://justiceforcolombia.org/news/article/984/political-prisoner-professor-beltran-finally-absolved-of-all-charges

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U of Phoenix facing new investigation http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2011/05/u-of-phoenix-facing-new-investigation/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2011/05/u-of-phoenix-facing-new-investigation/#comments Tue, 17 May 2011 10:15:07 +0000 caut http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=394 The University of Phoenix, the for-profit subsidiary of the Apollo Group, is facing new allegations of wrongdoing. The attorney-general of Massachusetts is asking the company for 10 years of documents as part of an investigation into possible “unfair or deceptive practices.”

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The University of Phoenix, the for-profit subsidiary of the Apollo Group, is facing new allegations of wrongdoing. The attorney-general of Massachusetts is asking the company for 10 years of documents as part of an investigation into possible “unfair or deceptive practices.”

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Educators worldwide unite to call for release of Colombian academic http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2011/05/educators-worldwide-unite-to-call-for-release-of-colombian-academic/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2011/05/educators-worldwide-unite-to-call-for-release-of-colombian-academic/#comments Thu, 05 May 2011 10:15:40 +0000 ucu campaigns http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=384 Thanks to everyone who has joined the call for the release of Dr Beltran from his imprisonment in Colombia. The University and College Union, together with Justice for Colombia has today submitted to President Santos a letter signed by more than 4000 academics.

Signatories include the Nobel prize winner, Sir Richard Roberts and a host of [...]]]> Thanks to everyone who has joined the call for the release of Dr Beltran from his imprisonment in Colombia. The University and College Union, together with Justice for Colombia has today submitted to President Santos a letter signed by more than 4000 academics.

Signatories include the Nobel prize winner, Sir Richard Roberts and a host of scholars with international reputations.

While most of the signatories are from the UK, the open letter attracted support from educators in more than 20 countries across the world, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden and the USA.

You can see the open letter submitted to President Santos here: http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/4-May-Academics-Open-Letter-to-President-Santos.pdf

To view the complete list of signatories click here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5474

In addition, Dr Beltran received invaluable support from other unions around the world, including the NTEU in Australia, who added their names to the open letter, the GEW in Germany and the NUT in the UK who both wrote letters of protest to the Colombian government. You can see the GEW’s letter here: http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Carta-Thoene-a-Calderon.pdf

Thanks to all of you for your support. We will update you on any news regarding our colleague in Colombia as soon as we have it.

UCU.

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New letter calls for Colombian academic’s release http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2011/04/new-letter-calls-for-colombian-academics-release/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2011/04/new-letter-calls-for-colombian-academics-release/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2011 12:45:37 +0000 ucu campaigns http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=375 Colombia heard the voice of educators loud and clear last year when 1,000 UK academics wrote to the Colombian president calling for the release of Dr Miguel Beltran. Several unions on the Education Solidarity Network did the same, including the CAUT in Canada and the NTEU in Australia.

Since our letter to the president, Dr [...]]]> Colombia heard the voice of educators loud and clear last year when 1,000 UK academics wrote to the Colombian president calling for the release of Dr Miguel Beltran. Several unions on the Education Solidarity Network did the same, including the CAUT in Canada and the NTEU in Australia.

Since our letter to the president, Dr Beltran’s trial was postponed following several ireegularities including suspected manipulation of the evidence against him. However, it is due to start again on May 3rd.

Dr Beltran has published research on the Colombian conflict and is an outspoken critic of the government. It appears that these actions are not tolerated in Colombia. He has been charged with “rebellion”, tortured, detained for 22 months and is currently held in a prison where 90% of the inmates are paramilitaries. He has been deprived of water and medical attention. We want to make a clear statement to President Santos and the people of Colombia that in a free, fair and democratic society, freedom of speech and expression are not optional. Those who avail themselves of such rights are not criminals, they should not be subject to detention, torture and imprisonment.  

TAKE ACTION: UCU is calling on academics across the globe to demand Dr Beltran’s release.

What you can do:

UCU has launched an open letter to President Santos. Academics can add their names by visiting: https://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5474

Alternatively, unions can send their own letters of protest to President Santos, using our letter as a template if they like. 

Please write to President Santos at : olgavallejo@presidencia.gov.co, or at the following postal address: Casa de Nariño, Carrera 8 No.7-26, Bogota, Colombia.

It is crucial that as many people contribute to this campaign as possible. Our last letter generated a significant amount of press coverage in Colombia including on the nation’s largest TV and radio stations. Please circulate this to your networks and encourage members to add their support.

UCU.

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Subprime Opportunity http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2010/11/subprime-opportunity/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2010/11/subprime-opportunity/#comments Wed, 24 Nov 2010 14:27:06 +0000 caut http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=370 In a scathing report, the U.S.-based Education Trust is accusing American for-profit colleges of making out like bandits while students are left with crippling levels of debt.

The report lists a series of concrete examples of how for-profit higher education is failing:

The University of Phoenix – the nation’s largest for-profit postsecondary education provider – [...]]]> In a scathing report, the U.S.-based Education Trust is accusing American for-profit colleges of making out like bandits while students are left with crippling levels of debt.

The report lists a series of concrete examples of how for-profit higher education is failing:

The University of Phoenix – the nation’s largest for-profit postsecondary education provider – collected more than $1 billion in federal Pell Grant aid last year. In 2008, however, its six-year graduation rate was just 9 percent. At individual Phoenix institutions, the highest student-success rate was 33 percent at the New Mexico campus; the lowest rate was just 4 percent at the Cleveland and Wichita campuses.

In 2008, 31 percent of the students attending DeVry University graduated in six years.

The six-year graduation rate at Westwood College was 27 percent in 2008.

The report concludes that for-profit colleges are operating on a business model founded on “systemic failure.”

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BPP posts £118 million losses in blow to Apollo’s ambitions http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2010/11/bpp-posts-118-million-losses-in-blow-to-apollos-ambitions/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2010/11/bpp-posts-118-million-losses-in-blow-to-apollos-ambitions/#comments Fri, 19 Nov 2010 13:17:49 +0000 ucu campaigns http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=366 The cause of for-profit education in the UK took a blow yesterday with the news that BPP University College, the for-profit education company with degree-awarding powers made an operating loss of more than $190 million (£118 million). The losses were largely the result of the US parent company Apollo charging BPP $175million for poorer than [...]]]> The cause of for-profit education in the UK took a blow yesterday with the news that BPP University College, the for-profit education company with degree-awarding powers made an operating loss of more than $190 million (£118 million). The losses were largely the result of the US parent company Apollo charging BPP $175million for poorer than expected performance in the context of an uncertain market. According to the figures and accompanying reports, BPP’s enrolments for law and business courses are suffering during the recession and Apollo is concerned that this market will remain uncertain. The news comes only weeks after the Browne report recommended allowing companies like BPP to access the remaining public funding and publicly subsidised tuition fee loans, a call echoed by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange. UCU warned that the losses and the uncertainty over BPP’s future revealed by Apollo’s actions demonstrated that the private sector is unfit to step into the breach opend up by massive cuts to public funding. The union also said that private companies should not be allowed to access public funding to shore up their struggling operations. Read the union’s press release here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5123

Read the report in the Times Higher here: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=414308&c=1

Download the union’s briefing on for-profit higher education here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/k/l/ucu_subprimeed_briefing_sep10.pdf

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Protest in support of Dr Beltran from 1000 UK academics hits Colombian press http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2010/11/protest-in-support-of-dr-beltran-from-1000-uk-academics-hits-colombian-press/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2010/11/protest-in-support-of-dr-beltran-from-1000-uk-academics-hits-colombian-press/#comments Fri, 19 Nov 2010 13:12:28 +0000 ucu campaigns http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=359 Campaigners for trade unions and human rights in Colombia are reporting an incredible response to the letter sent from 1000 UK academics in support of Dr Miguel Beltran, the academic being tried for ‘rebellion’ by the Colombian government. The story was picked up by all the main Colombian newspaper websites, Colombia’s main TV channel and its [...]]]> Campaigners for trade unions and human rights in Colombia are reporting an incredible response to the letter sent from 1000 UK academics in support of Dr Miguel Beltran, the academic being tried for ‘rebellion’ by the Colombian government. The story was picked up by all the main Colombian newspaper websites, Colombia’s main TV channel and its largest radio station. Dr Beltran’s wife Nelsa sent her thanks to all who had signed, saying she was truly overwhelmed with the response in the Colombian media and seemed really hopeful that it will be a lot more difficult for the authorities to convict Miguel after the support shown.

Dr Beltran’s trial began on Thursday 11th November and will continue until the 25th November. The verdict should come out around 12 days after that. Two representatives from the British embassy attended the first day of the trial, following representations from UCU General secretary Sally Hunt. You can read some of the coverage in English here: http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/12703-uk-academics-demand-release-of-farc-member.html and here: http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/12945-british-parliamentarians-free-colombian-political-prisoners.html.

Read the original letter from the 1000 academics here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=4742

TAKE ACTION NOW: We are calling on all unions who have signed the education solidarity network’s international agreement to take urgent action in support of Dr Beltran. Please write to the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, calling for a fair trial that respects academic freedom.

Please email us at jwhite@ucu.org.uk to let us know if you have done this.

You can use the following model letter:

MODEL LETTER:

Dear Mr President

You will be aware of the huge interest in the trial of Dr Miguel Angel Beltran among the international academic community, demonstrated by the letter with over 1,000 signatories from academics in the United Kingdom which received such publicity last week in Colombia.  In addition, you will be aware of the recent protest by British parliamentarians calling for Dr Beltran to be released.

Academic staff in our countries too have been following the case of Dr Beltran closely.  It is seen as a test case for the practice of academic freedom, which is a cornerstone of a democratic society.  We share a deep concern that Dr Beltran has been in jail for the last 18 months because of his political beliefs rather than because of any crime.  Now that his trial is under way, we hope that it will be fair and objective and if it is, we are confident that he will be exonerated and released.

We are aware that Dr Beltran is just one of the many academics, trade unionists and other leaders of civil society who are imprisoned in Colombia for their political beliefs.  Others include trade unionists Rosalba Gaviria Toro and Liliany Obando and human rights defenders Carmelo Agamez, Samuel Rojas and David Ravelo.

We hope that a fair trial for Dr Beltran will pave the way to justice and release for all these political prisoners, and to an improvement in Colombia’s standing with the international community.

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Stand by for more for-profit universities in UK http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2010/11/stand-by-for-more-for-profit-universities-in-uk/ http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/2010/11/stand-by-for-more-for-profit-universities-in-uk/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 10:59:46 +0000 ucu campaigns http://educationsolidaritynetwork.org/?p=345 In spite of persistent lobbying by the University and College Union, not least in our recent report on the scandals in the US for-profit sector, the Coalition government seems hell-bent on opening up the UK university sector for private sector profit. BPP, which is owned by Apollo, Kaplan and Laureate have been lobbying the government [...]]]> In spite of persistent lobbying by the University and College Union, not least in our recent report on the scandals in the US for-profit sector, the Coalition government seems hell-bent on opening up the UK university sector for private sector profit. BPP, which is owned by Apollo, Kaplan and Laureate have been lobbying the government to create a ‘level playing field’ (read: public subsidies that direct taxpayers money into shareholder profit). The Browne report has given them a lot of what they want, but you can read their whole manifesto in a recent report from the Tories’ favourite think tank, Policy Exchange: http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/publications/publication.cgi?id=212

UCU has tried to warn the government that it risks creating the conditions for the same scandals rocking the US for-profit sector but without success. Ideology and profits, it seems, are powerful. Read our report here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/k/l/ucu_subprimeed_briefing_sep10.pdf

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