Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Press Release of UP Staff and Student Regents: UP Board of Regents reopens discussions on naming college after Marcos technocrat

N.B. – This is a joint press release of the Staff and Student Regents on a controversial issue at UP. Please feel free to share. Thank you.

Joint Press Release of the University of the Philippines Staff Regent and Student Regent
31 July 2013

UP Board of Regents reopens discussions on naming college after Marcos technocrat

The University of the Philippines Board of Regents (UP BOR) has decided to reopen discussions on the renaming of the UP Diliman College of Business Administration (CBA) to the Cesar EA Virata School of Business.

At its 1,289th meeting last July 29, the members of the UP BOR agreed to discuss the issue further even if the renaming was already approved last April 12.

According to UP Staff Regent Razel Ramirez, this will allow UP to revisit opinions and expand discussions. “It will also give more time to consider the necessary steps, including the establishment of guidelines in renaming colleges and schools in the university.”

Ramirez made a motion to rescind the renaming of the CBA. In her position paper, she stressed Virata’s role as prime minister during the Marcos dictatorship. This, according to her, is the main reason there is a public outcry over the BOR’s decision last April. She said that Virata supported the Marcos dictatorship until the very end.

She also questioned the claim of the UP CBA Dean that the renaming is the sole concern of the college and the BOR. She said that this sets a dangerous precedent in the university, especially in the absence of clear guidelines. “By allowing CBA to change its name in honor of its supposedly distinguished alumnus, what will prevent the other colleges from changing theirs and on what bases? If a simple change of nomenclature of an academic course requires approval of the University Council (composed of assistant professors, associate professors and full professors), what more the renaming of an academic unit?”

For her part, UP Student Regent Krista Melgarejo said that Virata’s being a loyal technocrat of Marcos is not a good role model for the youth. She said that Article 3.1.2 of the UP Naming Rights Policy approved by the BOR on August 28, 2009, clearly states that the individual “must have sterling reputation or could be looked upon as a role model of the youth.” This policy, however, does not include the renaming of academic units.

“This is yet another case where the university’s soul is being sold in exchange for funding. A clear and present danger brought upon by commercialization schemes resulting from the national government’s failure to provide greater subsidy to education,” she said.

According to Melgarejo, the petition papers signed by many students from the university, including those from the CBA, must not be disregarded. She said that the online petition has more than 500 signatures and comments.

Aside from Ramirez’s position paper and the online petition, the two regents also presented a statement from the UP Alumni Association in America, Inc. President Dr. Romulo Aquino supporting Ramirez’s arguments on the issue. They also furnished copies of the petition paper signed by 13 deans from various UP constituent universities, as well as by former and current UP officials, faculty members, staff members and students.

The BOR is the highest policy-making body of UP.

For verification and more information, please call UP Staff Regent Razel L. Ramirez (0908-591-3737) and Student Regent Krista Melgarejo (0920-645-3953).

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