Ateneo 'saddened' by reports of sexual harassment, vows action 'if warranted'
Photo shows a building in Ateneo De Manila University.
Ateneo de Manila University/Facebook

Ateneo 'saddened' by reports of sexual harassment, vows action 'if warranted'

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - June 28, 2020 - 10:39am

MANILA, Philippines — Just months after students protested the perceived impunity of alleged sexual predators on the faculty of Ateneo de Manila University, the school is again addressing student reports of sexual harassment.

This comes as students from the Ateneo Senior High School aired their grievances on social media over what they said was the school's lack of action on incidents. Accounts said that one faculty member who repeatedly harassed students was still able to begin teaching at the university level. 

“We are saddened by recent social media posts of reported incidents of sexual harassment by certain members of the faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University. We assure our students that we are here to listen and support anyone who has experienced harassment,” the university’s statement read. 

The university encouraged anyone with information to reach out to the school’s gender hub, adding that it would "ensure the safety and well-being of anyone who is willing to come forward.

According to an earlier report by the student government’s Commission on Anti-Sexual Misconduct and Violence, only 29.5% of sexual harassment cases were properly filed and resolved, while 31.6% of cases filed were still being processed. 

The remaining 39.5% remained without official disciplinary cases with the university administration and were only brought to the student government. 

“We are verifying these reports and are ready to immediately begin an impartial investigation when warranted. We assure the public that the University prioritizes the safety and welfare of our students and the entire Ateneo community. We are committed to institutionalize (sic.) reforms to ensure that our University is a safe space for all,” the statement added.

Miriam College, Saint Theresa's College incidents

The allegations against Ateneo faculty come alongside allegations against faculty in other exclusive schools like Miriam College High School and Saint Theresa's College, both in Quezon City.

Miriam College's Women and Gender Institute said in a statement that it will make sure the high school unit will "process the administrative case hearings of the issues our students have raised, and may continue to raise."

It also said in an Inquirer report that it "will vigilantly monitor and ensure that the proceedings are just and transparent, hold every perpetrator of discrimination and abuse accountable and liable for their acts in accordance with the Safe Spaces Act."

STC QC in a statement to its community said it is "not turning a blind eye on these issues" and will investigate the allegations to make sure students are protected from harassment.

"Rest assured that these issues on sexual harassment are taken seriously by the administration with due regard to due process and the privacy of the parties involved."

Ateneo protests last October

This is the second time in months that sexual harassment at the hands of the institution's faculty members is thrust into the spotlight.

Ateneo made the same promise to its students in October, saying it was working to ensure that justice would be served.

It opted not to disclose any information on the cases at the time, citing the Data Privacy Act. 

Republic Act No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act provides that the “failure of employers or school heads to implement their duties under the Safe Spaces Act (i.e. including setting of administrative penalties to violations of gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace)” merits a fine ranging from P5,000 to P10,000.

“We trust, time and time again, in a system that is supposed to protect the student body from all these abuses, but we see all our hopes being shattered by menial punishments and the administration’s short-term memory loss," the university Sanggunian, or student council, said in a statement then. 

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