Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In the Firing Line: The University of the Philippines Administration strips the U.P. Board of Regents and a U.P. Professor of their Academic Freedoms

A new battle is now is now brewing in the halls of pathways of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) at Diliman over the issue of Academic Freedom. The  issue stems from U.P. Diliman Sociology Professor Sarah Raymundo's being granted tenure by the U.P. Board of Regents (BOR) last May 27, 2010 and the U.P. Administration and U.P. Diliman Department of Sociology's vigorous inaction in implementing a direct order of the BOR by not giving her an item, teaching load and commensurate remuneration.

Some faculty of the Sociology Department are demanding that their Academic Freedom be recognized in their opposition to Professor Raymundo's not being a suitable candidate for tenure in view of her apparently radical political beliefs. This opens a can of worms because all available Philippine jurisprudence recognizes that Academic Freedom belongs to the institution and if the highest policy-making body in the University as defined by the 2008 U.P. Charter (R.A. 9500) is the BOR, then it is the Academic Freedom of the BOR to choose who shall teach that is being trampled upon by the asserted Academic Freedom of the U.P. Administration and the U.P. Diliman Sociology Department. Additionally, there is the issue of Professor Raymundo being stripped of her Academic Freedom to teach freely without being targetted for her political beliefs by her being not being allowed to teach despite an executive decision of the BOR. It is, after all, a well-accepted doctrine that the very essence of Academic Freedom is the ability to teach, write, speak and research freely without being singled out for one's political beliefs (

We therefore have an anamalous situation where Academic Freedom itself is on the firing line. Or should we say, Academic Freedoms? After all, there is Professor Raymundo's Academic Freedom, the Academic Freedom of the U.P. Diliman Sociology Department as supported by the chief academic officer of the University, President Emerlinda Roman and also the Academic Freedom of the BOR itself. Which shall prevail?

To read an extended analysis of this issue please check the weblog, U.P. Issues, and click on this link:

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