Why are there protests over the appointment of Ayuso as an illustrious student?

  • This award was decided two years ago by the Complutense Alumni Management Committee, made up of the rector, three vice rectors, four deans and a representative of the social council

  • Parallel to the act of consideration in the Faculty of Information Sciences, a protest demonstration has been called

  • The former rector of the Complutense José Carrillo has made public on Twitter his discrepancy over the award to Ayuso

The distinction given to Isabel Díaz Ayuso as an illustrious student of the Faculty of Information Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid has caused a tsunami of reactions. many do not understand this decision taken directly by the Alumni management committee, made up of the rector, three vice rectors, four deans and a representative of the social council. Although the rector did not attend the day the decision was made to distinguish Ayuso, according to sources from the Complutense, he later ratified the award. It is the first time that this commission honorably distinguishes an active politician; Traditionally, it has always been done to former students of this university who have reached prominent positions.

This Tuesday the act of distinction for the Madrid president will take place at the Faculty of Information Sciences. At the same time, protest demonstrations have been called by different groups, including the Unitary Assembly of students, health workers and University workers.

The truth is that the Complutense government team has been very touched after this appointment, despite the fact that the tensions came from behind. Two vice-chancellors have ended up resigning: the one for Institutional Relations and adviser with the PP in his day, Juan Carlos Doadrio, and José Ignacio López, vice-chancellor for Economic Policywho is leaving his post to run for rector elections next March.

Reaction of the exrector Carrillo

Also the rector of the Complutense between 2011 and 2015, José Carrillo, has made public on Twitter his discrepancy over the award to Ayuso. “For the first time, an active politician is awarded, which, whoever the awarded politician is, calls into question the constitutional principle of university autonomy and the necessary independence of the University in the face of political, economic and religious powers”, he wrote.

Carrillo accuses Ayuso not only of the mismanagement of public health in the region but also of his desire to privatize education. “The Community of Madrid is about to launch the thirteenth private “university”, continuing with its policy of decapitalization of the University, turning it into a business where research has no place, when it should be an investment for the future”, he assures. And he adds: “In other educational fields we have seen how the creation of subsidized or private centers was favored and enrollment prevailed in the latter with “scholarships” for children of high-income families”.

Climate change and regional elections

Outside the rectory, More than 1,500 members of the Complutense, including 96 teachers, along with researchers and students, have handed in their signatures against the appointment of the Madrid president.

The rejection of the professors and professors is motivated both by Ayuso’s statements questioning the evidence of climate change, and by the coincidence with the regional elections next May, which could have political connotations for the university.

The unions also reject the appointment. CCOO criticizes Ayuso’s “constant attack” on public services, “particularly health and education”. “The budgets for public universities are clearly insufficient and seriously endanger the viability of the university system,” according to this union.

For its part, UGT considers it an “error” by the rector to reward the “main enemy of public services” who has reduced the budget allocation of the Complutense by “almost 60 million”.

Last week the rector was receiving in his spite different groups of teachers who rejected this appointment with the intention of listening to their complaints, according to the same sources from the Complutense.

Queen Leticia, also distinguished

The Alumni management recognizes outstanding people who have studied at the Complutense every year. A couple of years ago the decision was made to grant this honorary appointment to Queen Letizia and Ayuso, both graduates in Information Sciences from this University. In September 2021, the act of distinction to the queen was carried out. As for Ayuso, although his proposal was made in 2021, his appointment has been on hold until it was resumed last December.

Ayuso has described “deep sectarianism” the fact that her appointment as an illustrious student is criticized and she has defended that during her time there she gave herself “body and soul”. During her time as a university student, the president was a member of the Complutense faculty and of the Board of her own Faculty.

Along with Ayuso, this Tuesday the journalists Almudena Ariza, Ángel Expósito and Xurxo Torres will be distinguished as illustrious students; the writer Arturo Pérez Reverte and the actor Antonio de la Torre, also journalists; documentalist and photographer Miguel Trillo, and the founder of the Chinese advertising agency, Rafa Antón.

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