University tragedy highlights issue of student ‘dinosaurs’

After four people died in a Bolivian university stampede, an investigation into the role of a 52-year-old student has relaunched the debate over ‘dinosaur’ students who never graduate, writes José Arturo Cárdenas for AFP.

On 9 May, someone provoked panic in a crowded amphitheatre when they threw a tear gas grenade during a student assembly at the Tomas Frias university in the southern city of Potosi. Four people died and 70 were injured in the ensuing stampede. Soon after, it was revealed that student union leader Max Mendoza (52) had played a part in organising the assembly, sparking further controversy.

In his 33 years as a student, Mendoza has never graduated, claimed legislator Hector Arce, who brandished a notebook of the union leader’s marks: since 1989 he had failed more than 200 subjects and received a grade of zero more than 100 times.
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