3 Things You Should Know About UNAM (Mexico’s Most Famous University)

August 31, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


[Music] ever since I arrived in Mexico people have been asking me to make a video about una the Universidad Nacional autónoma de Mexico and I’m not gonna lie I didn’t understand it at first I mean I saw some pictures of unum and it looked cool but it’s just a university I went to university in Canada it was a little boring I mean it’s alright I guess but it’s not the first place I’d recommend people to visit so why were so many people recommending that I visit unum that’s the question that I try to answer in today’s video I met up with a Mexican friend of mine named Roy and we went to own up ok so that’s not actually Roy speaking voice something happened I did not plan this this is not a joke my microphone was not plugged in and about 80% of the audio from that day was completely so apologies to Roy but you got silenced by me and my inability to use a microphone but today I’m gonna share three interesting facts that I learned from Roy and try to teach you about the soul of una number one what does unum actually mean well in English it means the National Autonomous University of Mexico autonomous means that it is independent from the rest of the city from the rest of the country from the rest of the universe it is its own body within Mexico City that means it has its own fire trucks it has its own security and for the students of unum this isn’t just a logistical difference I mean this is at the core of what Yoona means to them this means that Mexican police are not actually permitted on campus that’s right I mean my University when there were big house parties at night the police would come and break it up but the reason that unum is independent is more than just house parties it’s about the politics of the institution all of the major political movements from the last hundred years have came from the University so for the students of unum not having the police on campus is about their freedom to believe what they want to believe to talk about what they want to talk about and not happen to worry about the government or the police or the nation of Mexico coming in and shutting them down fact number two this is actually convenient because I’m holding up two pesos why am i holding up two pesos because this is the cost of a four-year education that Munna actually it’s cheaper than that it’s like one and a half pesos it costs a fifth of a peso for every semester of education and it’s like a symbolic gesture you pay this tiny amount that anyone can afford to signify that anyone can afford to go to Yuna but what this means is UNAM provides a chance for the best and brightest of Mexico to get an education without crippling debt without having to rely on a family fortune to fund that journey in fact I have another Mexican friend named Juan who also went to unum I’m gonna let him talk for a minute about this once you get out you don’t forget that that this university that you went to is it’s free and it is not free its place for all the population and the taxes I get to the government that that money goes to your education so even if you don’t pay directly it does cost money so once your education finishes in them you have like a duty with your society so you have to do something that impacts them yeah thanks Juan okay point number three now guys there was a lot of famous artwork in Nam if you type it into Google Images you’re probably gonna see this it’s a beautiful image that was made by a famous Mexican artist and he actually made this using stones from all across the country of Mexico different colored stones there’s no paint involved because he wanted this to be something that could last forever isn’t that beautiful but my friend Roy showed me another piece of artwork then I want to talk about and this one’s a bit complicated so I gotta check my notes it is by David C Karis seaquarius I’m sorry guys I’m bad with names now see Karis did this artwork to symbolize the story of Mexico the story of his country and you can see in the top he has written four different dates 15 20 that was when the Spanish conquered the Aztecs 1810 that was when Mexico got independence from the Spanish 1857 that was when Mexico got its first constitution 1910 that was the Mexican Revolution and you can see under that there are question marks why are there question marks well see carrots left it intentionally open to interpretation as if to say that the next important date in Mexican history hasn’t happened yet well in 1999 something happened there was a big student protests in una remember what I was saying about people not liking tuition and not liking authorities well in 1999 the university wanted to raise the tuition in fact they wanted it to be a voluntary raise in tuition meaning to say that if you are in a position to afford more tuition you’re gonna pay more if you can’t well that it stays cheap essentially free but the students didn’t like this the reason the students didn’t like this is because they saw it as a stepping stone towards higher tuition for everyone now guys people have written whole books about the strike the strike actually lasted for over eight months so I cannot tell you exactly how I feel about that strike I mean I wasn’t in Mexico I was too young to remember it but what I do want to share with you is an interesting fact about that strike during the strike the students actually went to that piece of artwork that I was talking about before and they changed the question marks to the year 1999 the year of the strike as if to say this is the year that you’ve been waiting for this is the year when the students stand up for the rights and protect the soul of unum eventually the strike ended and the students won there was no tuition increase and the price of education at unum is still less than one penny American per semester the same as it was back in 1948 but after the strike had ended the the institution of unum they went back and they changed the 1999 to the question marks they didn’t want anyone vandalizing the artwork which is interesting because sick heiress he was a communist he might have actually appreciated the gesture that might have been actually what he was waiting for and now I think I understand why so many Mexicans wanted me to go to nap you know Mexico is a place of great inequality there are people who are very rich there are people who are very poor and unum is a dream it’s a vision to change that it’s a vision that offers new opportunities to people who don’t have the resources that others have was the student strike right was it wrong I don’t know so I’m not saying I have all the answers here but I am saying that if you want to understand Mexico if you want to understand Mexican politics and Mexican society there’s no better place to start then una I also find it interesting that this is the video where my microphone didn’t work it’s almost like there’s some poetic justice there like Roy had been silenced by some forest outside of my control you know it’s almost like some people don’t like you talking about student protests and radical politics and as soon as you start talking about that stuff yeah as always guys I’m dad for the new travel see you next time [Music]