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I am José Luis Mendoza too

Juan Roldán<br /> <br />

I am José Luis Mendoza too
Campus de Los Jerónimos

If José Luis Mendoza is asked to serve three years in prison for constructing demountable and provisional buildings in the area behind the monastery, I ask myself if I somewhat contributed to it, since I believe I am benefiting as well from those buildings: I teach in them, I take coffee from their coffee machines, a gather with students and teachers, I discuss, get angry, laugh, have fun and, in general, I spend a part of my life in them.

These things did not happen 24 year ago. At that time, the monastery and its attached buildings were in a pitiful, terrible, forgotten, abandoned, ruinous condition, and it was dangerous to walk through certain areas. I do not need to rely on anybody’s references; I saw, inspected and evaluated it personally, and of course those buildings did not exist at that time.

A cloister and a restored temple did not exist either, there were no degrees, no teachers, no research groups, no administrative and services personnel and, among other things, there were no more 17,000 students and more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs linked to our university.

It appears that these issues are scarcely relevant when it comes to understanding our activity as something of interest for society, but I do recognise and value them for the high difficulty with which they were achieved and for what they entailed for our region. Others will say and are saying “no”, but I do say “yes”, and I have no doubt that 24 years ago I did not find anyone speaking up for the cloister, for its environment, for the temple, for anything. I only found José Luis and Lola, walking around the surroundings of Los Jerónimos, observing the depressing conditions of those rooms, thinking about the future, the effort that had to be done, but full of hope and will. I did not hear anybody else, I did not hear then those who today, from the barrier, tell how to fight, how to do and undo, how to build, how to manage, how to teach, how to research.

It is for this reason that I am José Luis Mendoza too, because I should also be accountable for my benefit; I am a teacher of UCAM and I teach in those buildings, and if it were not for them I would not have a place where I can teach, and my students would not have a place to learn, but I have understood and accepted that as long as the longed for expansion of our university is not developed in the front area, where they do not allow us to build either, a provisional building was acceptable. Because it was built with that intention, to give an answer to a reality in a provisional way, notwithstanding the administrative defects that have been committed, and I never thought it would lead to the request for imprisonment against our president, who represents our university, therefore any claim against him affects all of those who belong to the university.

I am not at all keen on the fact that three years of prison are asked for the person who built my university, and I am even more surprised by the fact that this is done for an issue in which, both in our region and in the rest of the country, records are routinely processed for extremely varied activities on undeveloped land: mechanical workshops, industrial warehouses, gas stations, etc., sometimes with prior authorisation and some others without it, and they are resolved routinely  with administrative records that prosper or not.

I do not know of any other similar record that has been solved by means of criminal law, this is the most surprising thing, since ultimately it only has to do with a set of prefabricated and portables rooms, stacked up to provisionally host lessons and similar activities, as it happens in many other educative, public and private centres, as it happens in farms and livestock holdings, as it happens in hospital centres, as it happens in many activities in which, since they have a value for society that is bigger that their non-utilisation, value prevails, especially if it is a matter of provisional use.

I think about how out of proportion the issue is as compared to other aspects of the city, of the region or of the country that affect our urban reality without any mediation between them by criminal law. That decision may have had administrative flaws by it benefited me, since at UCAM I develop my teaching activity and I believe that I do that honestly, and if because of that José Luis Mendoza made a mistake, I made it too, and whatever he deserves, I deserve it too, and for this reason I believe that, to that effect, I am José Luis Mendoza too.

Juan Roldán Ruiz

Director of the Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and Construction Engineering of UCAM