The facilities of the Center for Scientific and Technological Studies (CECyT) No. 4 “Lázaro Cárdenas” were taken for approximately seven hours this October 10. The action was carried out by students and feminist groups, to denounce the violence and sexual harassment that are experienced in this campus of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN).
The taking, which began at around 3 p.m. and ended around 10 p.m., was preceded by a announcement Launched through social networks by the Galerna Collective, to carry out a “peaceful demonstration against the cover-up in the CECyT 4”. As part of the demonstration, the students and collectives closed a section of Avenida Constituyentes and placed a blanket on a bridge near CECyT No 4.
“Everything was going well, we hung blankets on the bridge and the media were present. At 2:53, the policemen did their job and removed all the cars as well as diverted them, but what happened? Grenadiers arrived, it startled us because everything was peaceful, there were managers and we are aware that they were the ones who called them ”(sic), consigned the Galerna Collective.
A couple of students from CECyT No 4, also known as Voca 4, told Political Animal that in 2020 they have reported different cases of sexual assaults and harassment committed by teachers and students against female students: among them one of sexual abuse and a suicide attempt within the facilities. Against this background, the students set up a clothesline in March to expose the situation and tried to strike at different IPN schools.
They also shared that in February academic authorities, including professors, set up a complaints table. However, “they did nothing, I came to report that a guy from my living room sent me messages saying that he looked at me in a morbid way, literally like that. I came to report that I wanted to change the group because I did not feel comfortable with him and they only asked me for some information and left a letter, they did not do anything ”, shared one of them. The same young woman pointed out that even her father came with her to report another situation, as a teacher harassed her “he touched my hands, he came up behind me and hit me on his body.”
Another added that “it was irresponsible, that is, you come to file a complaint in front of everyone, so with what confidence do you come.”
Protests against sexual harassment and violence gained momentum in more educational centers of the IPN between February and March of this year. In March, to cite one case, the Cecyt 13 “Ricardo Flores Magón” students also they installed a clothesline.
By that date, the IPN announced that from 2017 to that moment, 1,553 complaints of gender violence had been registered, “of which 368 are formal and 1,185 were made through clotheslines placed in various academic units of the levels upper and upper middle, which in several cases are directed towards the same person ”, reported the newspaper The Day.
CDHCM was attentive to the taking
Personnel from the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City (CDHCM) approached the seizure and were in communication with the students, who around 8:00 p.m. gave these same personnel a request sheet in which they request the authorities of the CECyT No 4 issued a statement “stating the reasons for the cover-up of the rape and attempted suicide of a student on campus.” They also demand, among other things, that talks be held on harassment, sexual harassment and cyberbullying to train teachers, students and workers; that the safety of “the students who participate in this movement” is guaranteed.
Around 9 pm, the students and feminist collectives agreed to hand over the facilities. And at 10 pm they began to withdraw. CDHCM staff remained at the scene.
The IPN issued a message after the capture, in which he condemns “the destruction and damage caused by a fire caused in the facilities.” It also indicates that it “categorically rejects all kinds of violence, especially gender violence.”
In addition, he reports that those who maintained the capture withdrew at around 10:05 p.m. and that he will collaborate with the authorities to clarify the facts.