Joan Subirats was called to ignore in his presentation to the media, which took place this Tuesday after a triple joint meeting of the Ministries of Health, Education and Universities with the regional councilors to discuss the return to the classrooms after the convulsive Christmas break by the pandemic rebound. A minister of Universities is the poor brother in a press conference on the pandemic: the baton is always carried by his counterpart in Health (Carolina Darias) and the press usually cares more about what the person in charge of Education says (8.2 million students and parents concerned about health and family conciliation) than that of the campuses (1.5 million full-fledged university students).
But, unlike his predecessor, Manuel Castells –who wanted to be known through his actions, not his words–, when his turn came, Subirats made an effort not to repeat the same thing for the third time and with a delay of 15 minutes, So he opted for the conceptual (“You have to avoid the feeling of constant change in the health situation, generate certainty, a feeling of protection”) – for something he is a professor in Political Science – and to tell first-hand his own experience as a teacher of new in the Autonomous of Barcelona. He was not seen to be uncomfortable, he dominates the situation after passing through municipal politics in Barcelona and, knowing that “the situation” was not favorable, he soon began to speak of the University in another setting.
The environment of Subirats in the ministry – created by the distribution of portfolios of the PSOE with Podemos two years ago – has already advanced that it will have a much more political profile – it is the leading ideologue of the mayor Ada Colau – and close to the media that Castells. His predecessor was not seen for a month – he appeared by surprise at the University of the Basque Country and is immortalized in a tweet – he gave just one press conference in eight months – he ended up blaming Moncloa for his absence – and he did not even participate in a breakfast of making contact of his team with the press a few weeks after arriving. Like a poor brother, Universities are scattered wherever they leave him inside the Ministry of Economy building, made up of just over a hundred people and has a budget of just 258 million euros.
Go against the tide
Although Castells tried to stop this media invisibility nine months later, there was no way and Twitter fired him as the minister who had not done anything, although the decrees, scholarships, fees or the university coexistence law say otherwise. Subirats does not seem willing to let himself be carried away by that current and at the press conference – asked if he understood the division into two ministries of Science and Universities, unlike Castells – he vindicated his role as minister: “It is difficult for a person who leads 47 years in the university does not consider that it is important to have a minister of Universities ”.
On December 20, the professor took office, has spent Christmas catching up in his Madrid office, and next Monday, after the holidays, he will begin to meet with the university community, after some first interviews with the ministries closest to His homework. The students, who have been fighting since November, have made him ugly in a statement not to have met with them and, far from being downcast, at the press conference Subirats reminded them that he has not done it with the rectors either. At the beginning of February, a new version of the Organic Law of Universities (LOSU) should be drawn up that will contain positions that, in principle, seem antagonistic.