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In the month of May there are a series of festivities and commemorative days that recall important dates in the history of Mexico, one of them is the Student Day. Although it is little known and celebrated unlike Teacher’s Day, it is an important date for all those who are studying at some academic level, especially in higher education.
It should be noted that Student’s Day is a date that is commemorated in Mexico and has a direct relationship with the history of the National Autonomous University of Mexico itself (UNAM).
Although this day honors the training of the students who are studying a degree, engineering or any school grade, in the calendar of the Secretary of Public Education (SEP) is not designated as a holiday or non-working day, since classes are held without any type of celebration or suspension of activities.
In Mexico, every year students are celebrated on may 23 from the decree made in 1929 during the government of Emilio Portes Gil, for this 2023, the date will be on Tuesday.
The Student’s Day has its origin in the student mobilization of the students of the Faculty of Law of the UNAM in 1929, when the student community asked that the autonomy of the highest house of studies be fulfilled, which triggered a student strike, as well as as a repression by the federal government, according to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).
When the Autonomous University of Mexico was inaugurated on September 22, 1910 —during the administration of Porfirio Díaz— the Constitutive Law was issued, presented by Justo Sierra, in which the university was considered an autonomous university.
However, in 1929 said law pointed out that the Minister of Public Instruction would be the head of the University, in addition to the fact that the rector was appointed by the president in turn —at that time Emilio Portes Gil governed the country—, therefore it was not fully fulfilled the autonomy of the university.
In May 1929, the student community began to organize itself into a federation, which called for congresses and debated issues that affected UNAM and the students. At the same time, during that year, the university authorities made a series of changes, since they increased one year to training at the preparatory level, in addition to changing the venue for conducting professional exams.
The authorities of the UNAM decided that the Faculty of Law would be the headquarters for the students to present their professional exam, a situation that generated discontent among the students of said faculty, so a series of debates were held with the authorities of the campus as well as representatives of the maximum house of studies to avoid the changes.
However, faced with the denial of the university, the students of the Faculty of Law colored a series of red and black flags on the campus as a way of demonstrating. But, from the perspective of President Portes Gil, it was not to his liking, so he asked the rector of the UNAM to close the college.
On May 9, the students officially declared a strike, for which they carried out a series of mobilizations, but on May 23 they were attacked by police from the then Federal District, who broke into the faculty facilities to beat the students.
There were a large number of injuries on both sides and more schools joined the protests. As a result of what happened, Dr. José Manuel Puig Casauranc, head of the then Department of federal Districtoffered himself as an intermediary in the negotiations with the president.
On May 27, in a march that brought together more than 15,000 students, they informed President Portes Gil of their demands, where University Autonomy was mentioned as a student desire. Thus, on May 29, President Portes Gil granted university autonomy and Student’s Day was decreed every May 23.