Thousands petition Penn to fire visiting scholar accused of crimes against humanity

11,000 people ask the University of Pennsylvania to fire María Paula Romo, after indictment for crimes against humanity. In addition, 56 teachers also signed a letter requesting her dismissal as a visiting researcher.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that around 11,000 people are requesting the dismissal of former Government Minister Maria Paula Romo, who serves as a visiting researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. This petition is based on the fact that the former official is facing an investigation in Ecuador for crimes against humanity, within the context of the October 2019 strike.

The petition, which was created on August 26, 2021, calls for the Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies to separate María Paula Romo, who is a visiting researcher for the fall semester of 2021, from its program.

For her part, Romo called the request an «unsubstantiated political attack» in a statement emailed to The Daily Pennsylvanian on November 30.

In addition, she assured that neither in Ecuador nor in any part of the world does she face a single trial for any crime, despite the fact that there are already several complaints and investigations against her in the country.

Answer University of Pennsylvania

The director of the Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies, Tulia Falleti, revealed that Romo applied for the position of visiting researcher in the spring of 2021 and began her professorship in the fall of 2021, in addition, she added that the position, which is not paid, only It grants scholars access to University resources to pursue independent research topics, but does not involve teaching.

Similarly, Falleti indicated that, in September of this year, the program initiated an internal investigation and, due to this, María Paula Romo’s profile was removed from the institution’s website, although “her appointment as visiting researcher it was not revoked due to the strength of his research proposal on democracy in Latin America and his experience both in academia and in government ”.

In addition, she stressed that, so far, no sufficient reasons have been found to rescind her appointment.

“If what Romo did as minister was good or bad, if it was legal or illegal, it is not something that I will determine, but the courts. Regardless of that, this is happening in a context of high political polarization, in which she is seen as the enemy of a large sector of the country, ”said Falleti.

New recall request
For her part, the assistant professor of Urban Studies at Trinity College, Julie Gamble, who was one of the 4 professors who requested the withdrawal of the offer of visiting academic to Romo, published a letter with the endorsement of 56 professors from the University of Pennsylvania to ask, once again, for his removal.

Gamble stressed that regardless of the political context of Romo’s removal, it is indisputable that she was the Minister of Government while the human rights abuses occurred in 2019.

«IT IS A WELL KNOWN FACT THAT SHE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.»

To conclude, the teacher asked the University of Pennsylvania to respond to this request, since it has the support of more than 10,000 people.

«The petition itself is something that is powerful and deserves a response, and I hope the University can respond in a way that is worthy of the more than 10,000 voices that have put their names there,» concluded Gamble.

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