UP Diliman crowd cheers as Nemenzo succeeds Tan as chancellor
MANILA, Philippines — Fidel Nemenzo, the University of the Philippines (UP) vice chancellor for research and development, was elected UP Diliman chancellor, the highest post at the state university’s flagship campus, on Monday.
His victory capped a high-profile and at times contentious head-to-head matchup for the position that pitted the mathematics professor against College of Engineering (COE) dean Ferdinand Manegdeg.
UP president Danilo Concepcion made the announcement to a large crowd of students, faculty and other sectors that had gathered at Quezon Hall. Earlier, the 11-member Board of Regents (BOR) voted 9-0, with 2 abstentions, for Nemenzo.
“After our deliberation, I am here to share the BOR’s decision,”said Concepcion, who paused for effect during the reality TV-like announcement. “Our new chancellor is Fidel Nemenzo.”
The crowd immediately erupted into cheers, a reflection of the overwhelming support for the vice chancellor.
Nemenzo will succeed two-term Chancellor Michael Tan on Feb. 25 and is expected to serve until 2023.
The election had led to factions within the university which has a storied history of activism. Manegdeg, whose designation as COE dean in 2019 had been racked by controversy, was viewed by some as a proxy for Malacañang.
UP has clashed with President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, most notably amid calls led by Sen. Ronald dela Rosa that the police be granted wider access to the campus in violation of a long-standing agreement seen as essential to academic freedom.
The extent of students’ anxiety over the outcome of the election was made clear in that all three of UP Diliman’s political parties endorsed Nemenzo in a rare show of unity.
In a speech to students afterward, Nemenzo touched on larger issues at play.
“I know you are here not to fight for me but to fight for UP,” he said. “You are here for academic freedom, for democratic governance and for the voice of our community to be heard in the important decisions of the BOR.”