In DepthHigher Education

Turmoil imperils research university in Andes

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Science  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6349, pp. 340-341
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6349.340

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Summary

A moment of truth has arrived for a grand experiment to create a world-class research university in the Andes. Last month, Yachay Tech University, a nascent institution in rural northern Ecuador backed with an estimated $1 billion in government funding, fired six scientists in leadership positions, including Chancellor Catherine Rigsby, a geologist recruited from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Ecuador's struggling economy may have played some role; Yachay Tech in a statement said that the terminations were part of an austerity plan meant to trim $2 million in expenses. But the ousted academics say they are victims of shifting national priorities and a personality conflict with Yachay Tech's new rector, the university's top position.

  • * Emiliano Rodríguez Mega is a science journalist in Mexico City.