Academics Reject The Office Of Deputies

Academics Reject The Office Of Deputies

Exactly four months have passed since the pro-government deputies Harry Jürgensen Rundshagen, independent, and Cristóbal Urruticoechea, from the Republican Party, issued official letter No. 76054, addressed to the Ministers of Finance and Health to request information on ” courses, centers, study programs that refer to gender studies, gender ideology , sexual diversity and feminism ”, and there is still no knowledge of why and why parliamentarians need such information.

So far, more than 18 state universities have joined and publicly declared their rejection of this request, which also asks for the details of what are the fiscal resources that are delivered to the organizations OTD Chile (Organizing Trans Diversities) and Transfest, programs related to the LGBTIQ + community, for which they not only require data on hormone replacement therapies and surgical interventions, but also who they are and were recipients of these.

After this situation was made public on October 20, students and officials from various universities in the country demonstrated their rejection of the measure and refused to hand over the information, in addition to emphasizing the derogatory use of the term “gender ideology” .

The rectories raised statements in rejection claiming that, in their capacity as public institutions, they advocate guiding the “work for the principles of gender equity, respect, tolerance and inclusion.”

“We were the ones who immediately publicly denounced this typical requirement of the McCarthy era because we know how, from certain assumptions that turn into accusations.

There is a rapid transition to budgetary restrictions and attacks on academic freedom and university autonomy,” says the Vice Chancellor of Extension and Communications from the U. de Chile, Faride Zeran.

However, the University of Santiago de Chile (Usach) did deliver the information requested by the pro-government deputies. A fact that not only generated great rejection by the educational community, but also caused the paralysis of activities by its students, indefinitely and that requires, for its term, the resignation of the rector Juan Manuel Zolezzi, who authorized the dispatch of the information.

The sending of this information, in addition to other requirements requested from teachers on the same subject, but via Transparency, once again set off alarms in the university community, especially when faced with the question: why and why do they need this information?

To answer this question is that, from El Mostrador Braga , we contacted the deputies Jürgensen and Urruticoechea, but unfortunately, until the closing of the newsroom, we did not get a response.

On the part of the Usach student body, the member of the Gender and Sexualities spokesperson, Geraldine Araya, comments that the requirement did not request to individualize students who took gender courses, only teachers. However, the university did it anyway.

Situation that “continues without being recognized as an error or assuming responsibilities. They hide behind the Transparency Law, ”says Araya.

“We are quite clear that this requirement is not informative. It goes further and is clearly a persecution of trans identities and those people who empathize with feminism and we want to give our community better tools in terms of these issues, ”says the representative of the student body.

It should be noted that none of the legislators, nor Urruticoechea nor Jürgensen, are members of any of the commissions in which education or health issues are discussed that could explain their auditing intentions.

Another academic who claims to be a victim of persecution for developing gender issues is Elisabeth Simbürger, professor at the School of Sociology of the University of Valparaíso, who, after having sent a reflective email in rejection of the office No. 76054, denounces that she An email arrived –in the early morning of October 22– from Transparency.

Which allegedly the candidate for the far-right deputy for the 7th district, Luis Sánchez, asks the university for his last four salary settlements, academic evaluations, as well of detailed information on dates and names of talks and classes he gave on human rights and non-discrimination.

After making this fact public, candidate Sánchez assured that he was not the one who issued the request, which was associated with a false email.

“I am not the only official at this university who addresses gender issues, but I am the one who uses the university’s public mail the most to raise issues that seem important to me,” says the professor, who feels that this request for detailed information is an eagerness to “Intimidating and persecuting an academic who simply raised the issue of political persecution and the attempt to limit academic freedom on gender.

I am not going to allow people from our own space to try to persecute us in the year 2021, in the year that the constituent part of its valuable work. The public university must continue to be a place of critical discussion and arguments, not of threats and political persecution that are installed through offices ”.
After what happened, Simbürger, together with the educational community of the University of Valparaíso, have gathered more than 1,800 signatures with the aim of “putting an end to academic intimidation in Chile.”

In this document , they comment on their concern that there are similar actions in Brazil, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Denmark, where ultra-conservative sectors have sought to intervene in universities and propose an association of their work with what they call “cultural Marxism”, particularly trying to intimidate academics who teach gender and human rights subjects.

With this, “they seek to denigrate the commitment of the universities to the construction of more just, secular and diverse societies through the production, dissemination and application of knowledge.

Universities around the world are key institutions in promoting development, knowledge and pluralism. A principle that defines and distinguishes the public university is precisely freedom of thought and academic freedom ”, he connotes.

For the academic and master’s degree in Latin American Gender and Culture from the University of Chile, María Soledad Flabella, these facts are consistent with the international example of the interventions of the extreme right.

According to his analysis, this is “part of an onslaught by an internationalist religious fundamentalist right that is taking over the traditional Chilean right. Today they have active cells in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and now Chile.

They say ‘defend the Catholic religion’, like the Yunque group, from Mexico. These groups use disruptive and antisocial communication tactics, such as fake news and the use of bots to distribute hate speech ”.

For the academic, the request of the deputies incurs an unfortunate conceptual error, referring to “gender” as “ideology”, when it is a concept conceived to categorize the conformation of people’s identities.

Finally, regarding the international gaze of the extreme right, he explains that it is groups financed by institutions such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which have been part of activities of the extreme right also in Hungary and Spain.

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