Sunday, February 23, 2020

Ateneo students demand punishment for professors who face sexual harassment complains

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  • Students of the university staged a protest on Tuesday amid allegations of sexual misconduct by teaching staff
  • Faculty lead the protests as students cry for the administration to act on the complaints
  • Students share their horror stories in the hands of professors as well as their co-students

Students of the university staged a protest on Tuesday amid allegations of sexual misconduct by teaching staff that went viral on social media. These protests were held in front of Horacio de la Costa Hall, where the accused professors’ offices were located. 

The protest was led by Philosophy instructor Luther Aquino, explaining that this isn’t just about “particular incidents of sexual misconduct, but “how this university is run because the rot goes all the way to the very top. It goes all the way to the decision-makers who have made it possible that these cases of sexual misconduct could go unpunished for so long.”

“We should know who the people are who make up the committee on decorum and investigation,” continued Aquino. “”They are the people who are trying the faculty members who are accused of sexual misconduct and we don’t even know who these people are? They could be their friends, they could be people who benefit from the system.”

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The protests sparked from a now-viral post by Sam Rojas detailed his chilling personal experience with a tenured professor from the university’s English Department whom he only referred to as “MT.”

“While having a one-on-one consultation with her, MT touched me in my inner thigh. At the moment, I was uncomfortable, frozen in fear, and I felt extremely unsafe,” Rojas narrated. 

He also added that “MT” threatened to fail him from the class and to file a “bogus” plagiarism case against him. He said that the threats got so bad that he deliberately avoided going to her classes. 

“[I had to go through] hearings, cross-examinations, etc. I went through months of stress, having to relive the trauma, reliving the feeling of being unsafe,” the student shared on Facebook. He shared his dismay when the professor only got suspended for 15 days when he filed a case against her.

“She was only suspended for 15 days, more than 12 times shorter than my wait for the decision. Take into consideration the fact that MT is tenured and has many connections in the school admin and is in fact part of the student discipline committee. It is clear that they are protecting her.”

IN PHOTOS: #OurSanggu joined the members of the LS community in a mobilization in front of Dela Costa Hall earlier…

Posted by Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

According to reports, the said decision came out this semester. The accused professor will be allowed to teach in the next.

Rojas now is one of the strong vocal critics of the university for being “far too lenient and protective of sexual harassers.”

The student also claimed that that the English professor had harassed 4 other victims, 2 of whom were professors. 

Ateneo’s student government, Sanggunian, condemned the “lack of proper administrative efforts in addressing cases of sexual misconduct and violence” of the university’s administration.

Sanggunian added that there is no excuse for “any behavior that contributes to an extremely toxic and damaging culture which permits the violation of another person’s dignity, trust, and wellbeing.”

MORE THAN ONE PROFESSOR

This is not the first time that a sexual harassment case from the walls of Ateneo became viral. 

Back in October 2018, the ADMU student council filed a case with another prominent male professor who allegedly sexually harassed several students. The allegations first came out from a post on the public Facebook group “ADMU Freedom Wall,” accusing the professor of “randomly messaging them for pictures of their feet,” and targeting his freshman students.

#ADMUFreedomWall10175I'm sick and tired of seeing that one "famous" professor on twitter gain a platform off calling…

Posted by ADMU Freedom Wall on Sunday, September 30, 2018

Other students came forward and their shared their own horror stories of sexual harassment at the hands of the other faculty members and fellow students amidst the social media storm that came in the wake of that post. 

Another professor from the Philosophy Department was accused of making sexual advances at students and making sexual comments in class. The university investigated the case and although the professor was not allowed to teach for an indefinite time, he is handling a few classes this semester, according to Ateneo students.

According to reports, the Ateneo administration vowed that all reports would be “intensively investigated and heard.” -MB/Rappler

Featured image from The Philippine Star

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