The Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats.
The Senate has definitively given the green light to the new University Coexistence Law promoted by the Government. The regulations will make it possible to put an end to the previous disciplinary code for campuses throughout Spain that was agreed upon during the Franco dictatorship and incorporate new features, such as sanctions against students for cases of sexual harassment, harassing hazing or plagiarism. Something that will also be applied in Medicine.
The bill had already received the approval in the Congress of Deputies in September 2021 after a debate in which some amendments from the usual partners of the Government were incorporated. But now the Senate has been fully ratified, which puts an end to its parliamentary process.RELATED
The text has gone ahead with 152 votes in favor, 108 against and four abstentions. The formations of the left-wing caucus and the nationalist groups have supported the Executive’s initiative, which has only been met with a ‘no’ from the Popular Party, Citizens, Vox and the Union of the Navarrese People, who had presented their own amendments to the text, without success.
New university sanctions: expulsions of up to three years
The new regulations establish a framework of sanctions that can involve expulsion for a period of between two months and three years from the university for students who commit some of these very serious offenses such as plagiarism, sexual harassment or hazing, as well as the loss of partial registration rights.
In the chapter on serious offenses, some behaviors such as deliberate cheating in an exam, stealing the content of a test or accessing the university’s computer systems have been included. These activities will be sanctioned with a month of expulsion or the cancellation of the affected subject, although the door is left open to a mediation procedure.
The socialist senator Carmen Torralba has remarked that the new University Coexistence Law will allow “shelving a pre-constitutional decree, a Francoist rule whose purpose was to discipline Spanish universities” and reinforce the defense of “freedom, religious pluralism and non-denominational state ” in the centers.
“We see the urgent need for us to have a law adapted to our legal system after 44 years of democracy”, pointed out the socialist spokesperson, who has attended the commission accompanied by the Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, who has inherited this project started by Manuel Castells.
The minister has also celebrated the approval of the new regulations to put an end to a policy of sanctions derived from Francoism that affected him personally during his time as a student. “I was expelled for participating in a meeting considered clandestine in a church in Barcelona,” he recalled on camera.
The Government has managed to shore up one of the key projects in the area of universities for this legislature, although it has not achieved the consensus of all parties. Its original text had the support of both the student associations and the rectors, but the incorporation of amendments by the groups in Congress caused them to get off the bandwagon. The changes respond to pressure from ERC to guarantee university autonomy or shield the right to carry out escraches or pickets.
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