By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The President of the University of the Philippines (UP) System finally broke his silence on Friday regarding the recent incidents within the university including a brawl between members of two fraternities and a series of offensive social media posts that went viral.
Issuing a statement, President Danilo Concepcion said the recent incidents within UP have “drawn renewed attention to the roles and actuations of fraternities” on campuses. Aside from the recent brawl involving members of two fraternities, he also finds a series of offensive posts on social media attributed to the Upsilon Sigma Phi “more disturbing.”
‘Boys will be boys’ no longer an excuse
Earlier, screenshots of a group chat allegedly between Upsilon Sigma Phi members were leaked online. These drew ire of netizens and the public for containing disturbing messages of killing Lumads, misogyny, anti-Muslim comments and pro-martial law sentiments.
For Concepcion, the “long-held excuse” that “Boys will be boys” is no longer valid. “We will not tolerate misogyny, sexual harassment, and bullying or any form of violence against women and other groups in this University, and any such offenses will be dealt with to the full extent of our judicial and administrative remedies,” he said.
Concepcion said that whatever the source of these reported posts may be, “the language and the behavior they contain are reprehensible and totally unacceptable in our community.” He added that “such flagrant misogyny has no place in a university dedicated to the highest ideals and the practice of gender equality and human rights.”
For Concepcion, “that practice is best tested in our private utterances and actions, and the attitudes displayed in these published posts demonstrate how much more we need to do to reform medieval mindsets within the university at all levels.”
Concepcion, who is also an Upsilonian, said that “it personally pains me for my fraternity, which is celebrating its centennial, to have been associated with these posts.” He added that those who allegedly made the controversial comments “do not represent what we have stood for all these years, as they bring us back to the darkness rather than the light.”
Meanwhile, Concepcion assures the UP community that “I will do all I can, both as president and as a fellow of the fraternity, to root out this problem and to instill or reaffirm a culture of respect, tolerance, and decency within Upsilon and our entire fraternity system.”
Concepcion also assured that he “will not protect any fraternity brother who may be found culpable of these kinds of offensive acts” and called on his fellow Upsilon alumni to “support me in this position, so we can bring the fraternity forward into a new and more progressive century.”
Peaceful and secure environment
Meanwhile, Concepcion also instructed UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan to “expedite the investigation” into the recent brawl on campus reportedly involving members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi and Alpha Phi Beta fraternities to “identify the participants, establish liabilities, and file the appropriate cases against the offenders.”
Concepcion also directed all Chancellors of UP campuses to “require all new and renewing student organizations for their members to undergo gender sensitivity training before accreditation or renewal is granted.” He also asked them to “intensify security on their campuses to ensure a peaceful and secure environment for students, faculty, staff and residents.”
Likewise, Concepcion also offered the “protection and assistance” of his office to those who were “personally threatened or aggrieved by these recent incidents.” His office, he assured, will see to it that their case/s is/are attended to and “that your safety and security are assured, and that justice is served.”
Amid all these, Concepcion expressed hope that the “challenges become an opportunity for all of us to work together for a safer, fairer, and more convivial university environment.”