University of São Paulo’s Truth Commission Utilizes the Web

Posted by Robyn Smith

With 633 recorded signatures, the University of São Paulo’s (USP) Truth Commission has quickly taken off. The latest development in the project is a website dedicated to furthering the cause, complete with a manifesto, biographies, and an events calendar. The homepage features a touching layout of faceless censored young people, representative of the eight USP affiliates who lost their lives as a result of their resistance to the dictatorship. The objective of the USP Truth Commission, which can be found on the “manifesto page,” mirrors that of the National Truth Commission: to create a democratically-elected committee made up of representatives from the three main sectors of the university to evaluate and then publish what occurred within USP during the military dictatorship. USP is seeking to leverage the project as a way to enhance the municipal, state, and national commissions.

A detailed timeline posted in the “Press” section of the site traces how the idea to establish a truth commission at USP has rapidly grown into a movement that has caught national attention. From the moving speech given by Fábio Konder Comparato at the commission’s request to the tragic biographies of the eight students and faculty who disappeared during the dictatorship, a sense of personal connection is woven throughout the site. The style of the site itself is heavily reminiscent of the black and white, straightforward design that characterizes the Memorial da Resistência (Resistance Memorial), located in the historic center of São Paulo. In addition to the comparative wealth of information the site has to offer, USP is turning to social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach university students and other youth.

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