Brazilian students are targets of xenophobia at the University of Lisbon
The Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon has once again been the scene of accusations of xenophobia against Brazilians.
In the new complaint, a student at the educational institution was accused of alluding to the stoning of Brazilians. The direction of the college reported that it opened a disciplinary process to investigate the behavior of the boy.
The episode in question allegedly took place during the Students’ General Meeting on April 20, when a faculty member-counselor asked for the floor to criticize a letter delivered by Brazilians to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s (PT) entourage, who was an official visit to Portugal.
The student, who was identified as Hélder Semedo, in addition to criticizing the letter and the accusations, recalled and made fun of an episode that had previously occurred in college, where, in 2019, Brazilian students were targets of a group of students who placed a box with stones bearing the indication “free to shoot a zuca [contração de brazuca]”.
Hélder also criticized the fact that students treated the president as “Lula”. In Portugal, it is customary to always include the surname of authorities, which ends up transforming the Brazilian head of state into Lula da Silva in official mentions and in the press.
The student then presented what would be his interpretation of the authors’ intention with the content of the letter:
“Lula, it’s just to say that Portugal is a terrible country, we are very badly treated, but even so we are so stupid that we continue to go there”. He concluded by saying that the authors of the letter “in fact deserved to be hit with a rock”.
The letter to which Semedo directed his criticisms and prejudiced comments is a document written by Brazilian college students themselves, where they report the difficulties faced by immigrants in the country, including issues related to higher education in Portugal. The content ranges from bureaucratic issues with the immigration agency to the differentiated value of monthly fees for foreigners.
After the episode, Hélder Semedo was accused of xenophobia and suspended from meetings. Brazilian students reported, however, what they see as an attempt to stifle the case among the academic community. Since Semedo’s speeches were excluded from the minutes of the event on the grounds of disrespect to the regiment, they were only included later after more pressure from the Brazilians.
In a note, the institution stated that it “repudiates and does not tolerate any situation of discrimination”. He also said that Hélder’s attitude will be investigated.
“Having become aware of what happened, the FDUL decided to proceed immediately with a disciplinary process against the said student. The multicultural environment that exists in the institution, provided by the presence of students and professors from the most diverse geographies, is one of its added values”, said the faculty.
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