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News > Argentina

Colombian University Fires Professor Critical of Gov't

  • Argentinean philosopher Luciana Cadahia at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

    Argentinean philosopher Luciana Cadahia at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. | Photo: Facebook / Luciana Cadahia

Published 30 May 2019

Academics and politicians were left astonished by the unexpected dismissal of the Argentinian thinker Luciana Cadahia.

Colombia's Pontifical Xavierian University (PXU) decided Tuesday to end the contract of the Argentinian philosopher, Luciana Cadahia, without justifying the reasons for doing so, a decision which generated reactions among national and international politicians and academics.


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"I asked them for the reason and they did not answer me," said Cadahia referring to the Faculty of Philosophy's authorities where she worked as a professor.

Cadahia's unjustified dismissal left the academic community in Colombia astonished given that she had a high performance as a professor since she joined the faculty in 2017, where she had led the creation of research groups, made international publications and obtained excellent evaluations from her students.

"It is enough to examine her career to confirm that [her] dismissal has nothing to do with her academic qualities or performance," the Faculty of Philosophy students expressed through a public statement, adding that if the motives for her dismissal cannot be made public, then "the reasons are of another nature, personal and ideological. How else can we make sense of such a decision?"

"Her classes, publications and, above all, constant support, has allowed us to find inspiration and a space for the exercise of a living philosophy," the members of, "Times of Crisis" group said and asked "does the type of reflections that Luciana favored are so uncomfortable for the University? We believe that this decision threatens to close what is possible to think."

"I copy a quote from me that I have been asked for a piece which is being written in defense of Lucia Cadahia. It refers the geopolitical context and the spirit of our time, which is important to reject openly in the name of free thought." The meme reads, "The Lucia Cadahia case makes real a desire expressed by Bolsonaro: 'we will expel all communists from the region.' It is worth remembering what the [exiled poet] Jose Bergamin told a policeman when he left Spain:" Listen, I am not and won't ever be a communist; however, what you are calling a communist, surely will become one."

The silence of the PXU authorities prompted numerous interpretations of the reasons for their decision.

Colombia's former leftist presidential candidate and current senator Gustavo Petro said her Cadahia's dismissal would seem to initiate "ideological persecution" and lamented such "ideological cleansing policies" at a university, which is supposed to be a "knowledge temple."

"Wonder what can be expected from institutions which are marginalizing their best members just because they are critical of what institutions do or fail to do," Mario Jursich, the editor of Arcadia, a well-known local media, said.

Regarding these events, the Colombian Network of Women Philosophers sent an open letter to the Pontifical Xavierian University expressing also its surprisal.

"We are surprised for a decision like this coming from a university, with the academic standards of the Javeriana, and with a Faculty that is known by welcoming professors who have all kinds of profiles, opinions, gender, and political stances."

Luciana Cadahia, who received her PhD from the Autonomous University of Madrid (AUM), became a well-known intellectual due to her international publications and influence in the discussion of issues related to contemporary political philosophy, critical theory in the Global South and women's contributions to philosophy.

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