‘Troubled UP’ claims denied; president defended
MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines (UP) on Tuesday denied allegations that its president, Danilo Concepcion, had unduly interfered in the university’s due processes, as published in a series of columns in the Inquirer, which said that the UP president had acted against the university’s interests in the resolution of two intellectual dishonesty cases and the selection of college deans for its flagship campus, UP Diliman.
Veteran Inquirer columnist and UP professor emerita Solita Collas-Monsod had painted a picture of a troubled UP — “as in losing all its good qualities, because no one is taking care of it; as in becoming worse, or spoiled, because of lack of care or effort,” under the current UP Board of Regents (BOR) leadership, also headed by Concepcion.
Among others, Monsod hit the UP president for reversing the conviction against one of two cheating cases in the UP School of Economics (UPSE). Two independent collegial bodies had resolved the cases and convicted the students.
Monsod also condemned the BOR, UP’s highest governing body, for supposedly intervening in the selection of the next dean of the Virata School of Business (formerly College of Business Administration).
‘Doing his job’
But UP Vice President for Student Affairs Elena Pernia told the Inquirer that Concepcion was merely “doing his job” and “act[ed] within the bounds of the university’s protocols” in both instances.
For one, she said, the student involved in the intellectual dishonesty case appealed to Concepcion as provided for under UP’s code of student conduct (CSC).
In reverting the conviction, Concepcion asked that “the fact of dishonesty must be proven first.”
The decision to convict was the result of a monthslong investigation by the college disciplinary council and was upheld by the executive committee composed of all the deans and directors of UP Diliman.
Intellectual dishonesty, a serious charge in UP that could result in expulsion even as a first offense, is considered a purely academic matter best resolved by faculty, Monsod wrote.
As such, Concepcion’s decision to overturn the conviction “erodes the faculty’s power to assess and to discipline students and sends a signal to students—particularly to potential witnesses—that truth-telling, honest work, and holding oneself and one’s peers to account will be unappreciated and not worth the trouble.”
Pernia however countered: “I think the issue here really is the feeling that there was interference in the process. But why else place a provision allowing for an ap peal in the CSC. UPSE can exercise their right to appeal Concepcion’s decision as well.”
The appeal, which was forwarded to the BOR, has yet to be heard.
Pernia also denied that choosing former Internal Revenue Commissioner Joel Tan Torres as dean of the Virata School of Business was a political accommodation, and disputed the column’s claim that he was the most underqualified among the five nominees.
The column also claimed that the selection process was “marred” by the BOR’s sudden request to interview the nominees instead of the usual selection committee making a report.
But Pernia argued that it was within the BOR’s power to request to interview candidates for the deanship.
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