AMLO Accuses UNAM Rector of Playing ‘Pontius Pilate’

National Autonomous University of Mexico Rector Enrique Graue Wiechers. Photo: Google


After the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) essentially washed its hands of dealing with the mounting evidence that Supreme Court (SCJN) Justice Yasmín Esquivel had indeed plagiarized her professional thesis, sending the matter to the Public Education Secretariat (SEP) to be resolved, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) — who appointed Esquivel to the SCJN in the first place — criticized the UNAM on Thursday, Jan. 12, specifically its rector, Enrique Graue Wiechers.

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, the UNAM’s Faculty of Higher Studies (FES) ruled that in the case of accusation of plagiarism of Esquivel’s 1987 theses, there was substantial evidence that plagiarism had taken place.

In a written statement, the FES said that, based on an extensive analysis, it had determined that “fundamental elements of importance of her thesis — including its construction, development, style, content, temporality, congruence and management of information of both theses — represented “a substantial copy” of Édgar Baez’s professional thesis from one year earlier.

The FES added that it is currently “analyzing noncompliance with ethical principles and adherence to institutional regulations,” and that the content will be sent to the SEP for resolution.

“The university regulations lack the mechanisms to invalidate a degree issued by the UNAM, even when plagiarism of a thesis is documented,” said Graue Wiechers in a written statement.

As a result, the SEP will have to decide what the consequences will be for Esquivel, he said.

But during his daily press conference at the National Palace on Thursday, López Obrador reproached the UNAM for turning over the case of Esquivel’s alleged plagiarism to the SEP, accusing Graue Wiechers of “washing his hands, like Pontius Pilate.”

AMLO went on to say allege that Graue Wiechers was bribed in the case, “taking silver, enough of pretense and hypocrisy.”

AMLO likewise said that his administration will not sweep the matter under the rug and will, instead, “take action.”

“This case is very linked to politicking because when did the ethics of those who have dedicated themselves to stealing care so much here?” AMLO said.

“In any case, we are going to see the matter through since the responsibility has been transferred to the SEP. The question is: Couldn’t the UNAM have resolved the issue in the first place? But now that the decision has been passed to the SEP, we are going to attend to it and soon resolve it.”

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