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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Students from Rio de Janeiro’s State University (UERJ) prepared for the first day of classes on Tuesday received disappointing news on Monday night, as university officials announced that the start of the semester would be suspended indefinitely due to non-payment of essential campus services and delayed back pay of university employees and professors. According to officials UERJ’s technical-administrative and teaching staff have not been paid since May.

Brazil, UERJ employees and professors have not received salaries since May,
UERJ employees and professors have not received salaries since May, photo by Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil.

“Despite repeated public statements regarding the precarious working conditions of the University, no progress was made in negotiations with the Rio de Janeiro state government in recent weeks,” stated the note released by university officials on Monday to announce the decision.

Teachers and staff continued to work during the first semester of 2017 so that students could complete classes related to the second semester of 2016. Now say officials, they can no longer accept such sacrifice from our servants and from their families. “We have reached an unbearable level that prevents the university from carrying out its teaching, research and extension functions,” said the statement.

In addition, officials were unable to attract food service firms to bid for the university restaurant contracts since third-party companies fear they may not get paid for their services.

Once considered one of the top universities in the state, UERJ recorded the lowest registration for its 2018 entrance exam in eighteen years. According to officials approximately 37,000 registered to take the first phase of the entrance exam in July for next year, compared to the more than 80,000 who registered last year.

University officials, however, claim that the recent crisis will be resolved and conditions will go back to normal soon. “Postponing the start of classes is not stopping UERJ! Our university stays OPEN and ALIVE!” concluded officials.

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