Every year, thousands of young students enroll in the University of Angeles academy of sciences, la Academia Ecomuporazione. Known for its diversity and dedication to interdenominational education, the school prides itself on its ability to welcome students from all different faith-based communities. This diversity in faith allows students to pursue a variety of academic programs that can lead to a wide range of careers, from the arts to the sciences. In recent years, however, La Academia Ecomuporazione has adopted a policy that bans students who identify as members of specific religions from enrollment. Those who are denied enrollment are given the option to take the examination for a non-religious program, which allows them to continue their education at the university.
The policy was devised with the aim of countering what it sees as an attempt by some faculty members to limit the amount of access that religion provides to the academy’s students. According to the university, this measure is necessary in order to maintain a space that is guaranteed to be free of proselytizing in light of the current demands from those who wish to spread their faith through campus activities. The university also stresses that it is in keeping with its duty to maintain a space free from discrimination and claims that this policy does not affect its ability to protect students who have been affected by religious discrimination. Students who have been denied enrollment because they are members of a specific religion are required to request a reconsideration of their decision in order to reinstate their enrollment. They may also be required to provide documentation proving that their religion prohibits discrimination showmatch la academia en vivo.
The university acknowledges that, in the past, it has occasionally allowed students who claim a personal belief in a religion to attend the program even if they may not practice that religion themselves. “As a result of this policy,” explains Dr. Roberto Garcia, the university’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, “we have seen a significant increase in the number of applicants that we have had to decline because of religion-based reasons.” The new policy, he continues, “does not apply to students who join our program out of curiosity.” Students, he notes, “who are enrolled in the program with a sincere desire to learn and earn a degree” will be allowed to continue their education.
The increasing numbers of students who are choosing to study abroad are among the main factors behind the recent surge in applications for LALA programs. The majority of applications come from students who opt to study in Latin America. The increasing prevalence of political and social turmoil in Latin America is causing a shift in how students approach Latin American Studies. “For many students, their choice of countries to study in was motivated more by social issues than any other aspect of their application,” says Garcia. The introduction of the Diversity Policies in the late 1990s has also been credited with helping to raise the profile of the field. “It encouraged more potential candidates from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to apply for the program, thereby encouraging greater participation from these groups,” says Dr. Miguel P. Serrano, the university’s director of communications.
The program now welcomes students from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Students who speak English as a second language are especially welcome, as are students who speak Spanish and/or Portuguese. Those interested in pursuing graduate studies in LALA may also choose to enroll without having an English degree. Students planning to teach in an English university, meanwhile, should note that they will need to have prior teaching experience, such as a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. Enrollment in the program does not require a US student. Students who wish to pursue post-graduate studies are required to submit letters of recommendation from faculty members who are in good standing.
Those who are not native English speakers can enter the program without a visa. They may, however, need to have a valid visa in order to reside and work in Spain for a six-month sabbatical. For non-Spanish speakers, La Academia en vivo is offering tuition assistance for immigrants. In addition, there are a number of financial aid programs available, including the SEED/Spain program and the European Financial System. Students can also check with the university’s website for further details.