Power Lawsuited two years ago by the MPF, Unir remains without a quota control board

Front of the Federal University of Rondônia, in Porto Velho (Reproduction/Unir)

Iury Lima – from Cenarium

VILHENA (RO) – The Federal University of Rondônia (Unir) is in the sights of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) since 2019 by allegations that white students would be defrauding entry into the institution, self-declaring that they belong to the groups contemplated with racial quotas: black, brown and indigenous. The process completed two years in October this year and, even so, the college has not yet implemented a board of hetero-identification, as requested by Justice, to control the selection system. 

The board should be composed of ethnically diverse and qualified professionals to deliberate on the issue. At least 12 students, especially in the Medicine course, were listed in the Public Civil Action (PCA) filed by the MPF, and all of them would have presented divergent data in other selection processes. The document also points out that the university uses only self-declaration of candidates to fill such vacancies, which, for Justice, opens the door for irregularities.

The headquarters of the Federal University of Rondônia (Unir), in Porto Velho. (Reproduction/Unir)

The accusation

According to the prosecutor in Rondonia, Raphael Bevilaqua, in an interview to CENARIUM, Justice became aware of the cases through a profile on a social network that began to gather the reports of fraud, as well as photos, names and information of candidates who acted in bad faith. From there, the ACP was filed.

“In fact, many of them [people], the phenotype was very different from what they had actually declared. After much discussion within the black movement itself, it was concluded that these frauds were harming the beneficiaries of the quota policy, especially because, in Brazil, the issue of prejudice is much more related to the phenotype of the person and not necessarily only to genetic inheritance”, explained the prosecutor when referring to the physical characteristics of candidates, such as skin tone, facial features, among others. 

Federal Prosecutor Raphael Bevilaqua is the author of the lawsuit against the Federal University of Rondônia. (José Cícero da Silva/Agência Pública)

“People who have the black, black or brown phenotype suffer prejudice. That is why they should be the target of quota policies and also, as a matter of representativeness”, Bevilaqua said.

The public prosecutor and author of the ACP affirms that when the racial quota system is not directed to the real recipients of this public policy, the institution responsible is, in fact, pretending to comply with the legislation.

“The idea is that we can get Unir to understand the meaning of the quota policy, to listen to the voices of the people who are the beneficiaries of the quotas and comply with the law and the Constitution so that, effectively, there are black and brown people attending university to ‘color’, in fact, the university environment, and not just stay in the ‘fairy tale’, in the pretend that it does”, he criticized. 

Historical reparation

President of the Racial Equality Commission of the Brazilian Bar Association – Amazonas Chapter (OAB-AM), Carolina Amaral points out that the accessibility of black people to universities, to the job market, and to social ascension are rights that were restricted due to slavery and its effects, besides the so-called “modern slavery”.

“Quotas are a measure to repair this damage, so that black people have an equal opportunity to enter higher education, to enter public service, so that they can compete with what we call equality of arms, in order to promote racial equality. It is not a measure that will last forever, but it is a measure that should last as long as it is necessary for this equity to exist, in fact”, defended Amaral.

The president of the Racial Equality Commission of the OAB-AM, Carolina Amaral, defends the quota policy as a means of promoting racial equality. (Reproduction/CAA-AM)

Carolina Amaral also defends the creation of hetero-identification boards, a mechanism that is as crucial as the quota policy itself. “The fact that the hetero-identification panel is composed of people with racial literacy, that is, people who study, people who have knowledge and can do this verification, is extremely necessary, because if you rely only on self-declaration, you will have to rely on the good faith of others and, unfortunately, cases of quota fraud are not uncommon”, she explained.

“It’s not enough that you have a black grandfather, a black father… you have to, in some way, have suffered racial discrimination and that this discrimination has restricted your rights, prevented you from accessing certain opportunities, somehow hindered your access to education, your access to public service”, added the specialist.

For her, “there is no plausible justification for universities not to have hetero-identification examining board in 2021”.

What does Unir say?

In a note, the Federal University of Rondônia said it reserves 55% of the vacancies for quota candidates, including black, brown, indigenous and people with physical disabilities, in addition to assessing socioeconomic criteria.

However, it assumed that, to date, it does not have a board of hetero-identification, that it continues to accept self-declaration as a criterion defined by law, and that it is following the lawsuit filed by the MPF. Unir also says that, regardless of the PCA, it seeks to implement a group formed by the academic and external communities to discuss and move forward on the issue.

The Quotas Law

Law No. 12,711 was created in 2012 and also establishes that federal colleges and institutes must allocate half of their vacancies to students who came from the public school system and part of that 50% to quota candidates in annual selection processes.

Sanctioned in August of that year, it guarantees that 50% of the enrollments per course and shift in the 59 federal universities and 38 federal institutes of education, science and technology are reserved for students coming entirely from public high school, in regular courses or youth and adult education. The other 50% of the vacancies remain open to broad competition.