Mexico has the most dangerous university in the world: deaths, beatings, kidnappings and epidemics

The Veracruzana University of Mexico is the most dangerous place to study in the North American country. In this academic institution, based in the city of Xalapa (capital of the state of Veracruz), only 78% of students return to start the next academic year, because they are going through a very turbulent period, according to ‘ The Daily Mail ‘.

“We have had deaths, insect pests, deadly diseases and terrible violence (…) there are not many more atrocities to complete the whole,” said a spokesman for the university to the British newspaper. For its part, the staff of the center compares the current situation with “the plagues of Egypt.”

The attack on eight university students

The problems began two months ago, when a group of 10 masked men armed with machetes and baseball bats stormed  a college birthday party and savagely beat eight students.

The victims, four men and four women, ended up in the hospital in the city and, although none of them has died, this attack has scared the student community very much. Five of the assaulted have disappeared without a trace, while the other three have fled the state of Veracruz after receiving death threats.

“It was an act of intimidation, the birthday boy had spoken against the administration of the university and here they know exactly how to silence you,” says Carlos Landa, a student at the institution. The municipal police of Xalapa took more than 12 hours to send an agent to the scene of the incident and, according to local police, no one is investigating the incident officially.

Insect pests and epidemics

At the same time, the recent infestation of the mosquito ‘Aedes aegypti’ has resulted in more than 250 cases of chikungunya in the student residences due to poor waste management. It seems that the fumigators did not act sufficiently effectively to stop this epidemic.

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Kidnappings and disappearances

As if that were not enough, kidnappings are commonplace at the university. In the last two months there have been more than 20 abductions and only 16 of the victims have managed to rebuild their lives, after having been rescued for a sum exceeding US $ 60,000. The most recent kidnapping took place last week and involves two staff members of the university, one of whom has been identified as René Hernández Luis, a dedicated teacher to attract students from Europe and the United States.

All students whom The Daily Mail has interviewed know someone who has been abducted. Even José Antonio Castañero, a second-year student and resident of Xalapa, was forced to handle a kidnapping case himself, as the local police refused to participate. “The police pointed out details of the case and, finally, recommended that we deal directly with the kidnappers and pay the ransom,” says Castañero.

“Who would choose to be a student here when the only thing this city is known for is crime?” States the student, who during the last decade has witnessed more than 4,000 kidnappings and disappearances of residents of Xalapa.

Economic problems 

Finally, the financial situation of the university is far from being solvent, which has led to numerous strikes of staff, cancellation of classes and a mass exodus of its leading academics to other institutions.

“As the crime is and with no money to continue, it is difficult for the university to continue much longer than it has been until now,” says the institution’s spokesperson, Edgar Onofre.

The crime rate in the state of Veracruz has increased year after year since Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa took office in 2010; In fact, Xalapa registers around 40%. According to official figures, in 2010, 395 adult males were killed, while in 2014 it is estimated that there were more than 700. In addition, the organized crime business has become the largest “industry” in the state.

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