Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)


National University of Mexico is granted institutional autonomy

On July 26, 1929, almost one decade after the 1918 Cordoba Reform, a law signed by President Emilio Portes Gil recognized the National University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional de Mexico) as a public corporation with legal status. The Universidad Nacional de Mexico, the only university in the country at that time, became the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Once the university was granted institutional autonomy from direct government intervention, it was allowed to freely determine its programs of study, teaching methods, and budget allocations. However, the autonomy was relative, because, according to the Charter, the Ministry of Public Education had a delegate in the University Council, and the rector was chosen from among three nominees designated by the president of Mexico, who could also veto council resolutions. In exchange for the cooperation of university leaders, the government made a commitment to refrain from influencing policies on enrolment, fees, or fields of study of students, or by that matter any other internal university policy. In spite of some occasional frictions, the relations between the university and the government became relatively stable for almost four decades, until the Tlatelolco incidents in 1968. Since then, both the concept and practice of institutional autonomy became a controversial issue, sometimes escalating into large-scale confrontations.


Lorey, David (1995). The rise of the professions, economic development, and identity in Mexico [online]. American Sociological Association Washington, D. C.: August 20, 1995. Available: (February 16, 2001).

Serrano Migallón, Fernando (1996). University autonomy: A Guarantee of Independence and Academic Freedom [online]. Available: (February 16, 2001).

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