July 29th, 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of what came to be known as “The Night of the Long Batons”. A month after the military coup that removed then president Arturo Illia, repressive forces seized the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and declared the end of its autonomy. That night, police forces, violently dislodged the Faculty of Natural Sciences at UBA. Violent repression and detention of teachers, students and university workers ensued. This repression of academic knowledge and ideas put an indelible mark on Argentina’s education system and research, which deepened during the subsequent military coup in 1976, and the so called “Dirty War”.
Professor Alberto Minujin, alongside a group of other teachers, recently received recognition by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation and the University of Buenos Aires for his role in defense of academic and democratic values in 1966, when he resigned his university post and voiced opposition to military interference. A ceremony was held to commemorate the anniversary of this event.