The rector of the Medical Sciences Campus (RCM), Ilka Rios Reyes, presented today, Thursday, his resignation after the president of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Luis A. Ferrao, She was asked for it in the face of the accusations of two deans of the School of Medicine who denounced yesterday that she allegedly “hindered” an academic evaluation of a student to favor her stay on the campus.
“In response to your surprise request for resignation and, for these purposes, I put my position as rector in property of the Medical Sciences Campus at your disposal”Ríos Reyes said in the letter addressed to Ferrao.
Ríos Reyes, who was appointed principal in December of last year, detailed in her resignation letter that the preferential treatment of the student is due to an agreement signed in February 2021 by Second Rodriguez Quilinchini.
“This agreement stipulates some treatment for said person and raises the situations related to this level of the nominating entity of the enclosure, which allows intervening at any time that is deemed necessary,” stated Ríos Reyes.
The request for resignation of Ríos Reyes arises after holding meetings this morning with the president of the UPR after complaints of violations of the regulations of the School of Medicine to allegedly favor a student at the request of the parents.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Medicine Schoolthe doctor Hilton Franquiand the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Dr. Joalex Antongiorgi, They made public yesterday, Wednesday, their resignations from their positions of trust in the RCM in the face of the rector’s scandal.
Ferrao had announced yesterday, Thursday, that he had been aware of the allegations since last Friday and that, in order to “safeguard purity and transparency”, he asked the Central Administration Legal Affairs Office to appoint an investigative officer to proceed to carry out an investigation.
The teachers addressed their resignation to the interim dean of the Medicine School, Ivonne Z. Jiménez Velázquez, after understanding that the rector Ríos Reyes favored a particular student, completely “running over” the regulations of the educational institution and ignoring the appeal process of adverse decisions of the university”.
Franqui insisted that the Policy Manual of the School of Medicine establishes the mechanisms that students have to appeal an adverse decision and, once that circumstance is identified, a monitoring committee is established. The professor indicated that even the hearing that he deserves in cases like this, was blocked by order of the rector.
“I had never seen a rector try to interrupt the process. I’ve never seen that before and it’s not supposed to happen. In fact, the rector is not even supposed to be aware of the cases that are occurring because they are part of the chain of appeals. So if we make an adverse decision against a student, the student has the ability to appeal to the rector, but the rector cannot have interfered in that case because the process is already affected and is flawed, “explained Franqui.
Likewise, Antongiorgi, who has been in his position as associate dean of Student Affairs since last year, explained that before sharing his resignation they had sent a letter to the interim dean indicating their concerns and all the remarks that could jeopardize the accreditation of the enclosure before the visit of the MIddle States. Later, the document was shared with the president of the UPR, he reported.
“We are doing this because we have always been monitoring the processes so that they are carried out under due process of law. (…) I have been working hand in hand with doctor de Franqui and all the decisions have been transparent, clear and based on our policies. The moment we understand that there is a deviation, well, we find ourselves in this position because it is not fair to the other students.Antongiorgi said.
He indicated that one of the points that the accrediting agencies take into account is that the administration follows some parameters on how to evaluate all students under the same policies and guidelines.
Meanwhile, he assured that, from his space directing the Admissions Committee of the School of Medicine, he has ensured that the process to enter the institution is not influenced by political interests or family connections to privilege students.
Appointments since his appointment
Ríos Reyes was appointed rector of the Medical Sciences campus last December. Her appointment took place in the middle of a meeting of the Governing Board of the UPR, after the governing body did not endorse the appointment of Wanda Maldonadowho had been recommended by the then interim president of the UPR, Mayra Olavarria Cruz.
Upon his arrival, he appointed officials who had participated in his evaluation to occupy the position, such as the former claustral representative before the Governing Board, to positions of trust in the enclosure. Lourdes Soto de Laurido and several members of the Medical Sciences search and evaluation committee.
These were not the only decisions by Ríos Reyes that caused discomfort within the institution. With the arrival of Ríos Reyes, the then Dean of Academic Affairs of the campus left her position, Deborah Silva, an official who until the beginning of this year was in charge of the processes for the institution to maintain accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Although two sources from this newspaper indicated that she had been dismissed from her, Silva clarified in a message posted on social networks that she resigned from her position.
One of the sources of this medium highlighted Silva’s expertise in accreditation issues, to the point that representatives of the accrediting agency recognized his knowledge in a recent virtual meeting with the faculty of the School of Medicine.
“(Silva) was dean of Academic Affairs at the School of Medicine, there she worked everything that had to do with accreditations. Segundo (Rodríguez Quilichini, former rector of Medical Sciences) also tried to get things done, but she refused to do anything wrong. She was removed from it, but then Maldonado (former interim rector) appointed her Dean of Academic Affairs for the entire campus, ”explained the informant.
In her place at the Dean’s Office for Academic Affairs, Ríos Reyes appointed a retired professor from the School of Dental Medicine, who in the last meeting with Middle States questioned how the accreditation process would be carried out, since she did not know it.
The professors denounced the effects that this type of academic irregularity can have on the visit of the Middle Statesscheduled for next month.
Journalist Keila López Alicea collaborated on this story.