Selection of UP chancellor questioned

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Selection of UP chancellor questioned
Black banners hang on the facade of Melchor Hall at the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City yesterday after the UP Board of Regents elected College of Law dean Carlo Vistan III as UP Diliman’s new chancellor.
Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Several officials and faculty members of the University of the Philippines have joined calls asking the university’s board of regents (BOR) to explain their vote during the recent selection of the UP Diliman chancellor.

In an open letter, 19 emeritus professors and 27 other faculty members asked UP president Angelo Jimenez to explain his vote for College of Law dean Edgardo Carlo Vistan II.

Vistan edged out former chancellor Fidel Nemenzo and another contender, archaeology professor Victor Paz, during the BOR meeting held last April 3.

“Despite the constituent community’s choice and the clear disparity in credentials, the BOR, yourself included, selected the most junior candidate with the least experience, preparation and credentials to lead a community of accomplished academics and researchers across 27 colleges and disciplines, comprising the majority of the University System population,” the faculty told Jimenez.

“As chancellor, he will preside over the UP Diliman executive committee composed of deans of much higher academic rank and the University Council, many of whom are full professors who have taught in UP for decades, compared to his eight years,” it added.

Among the signatories were National Artist for Music and former UP College of Music dean Ramon Santos and fellow professor emeriti Jasmin Acuña, Violeta Bautista, Benjamin Cabangis, Sylvia Claudio, Maria Serena Diokno, Erlinda Echanis, Elizabeth Enriquez, Maria Cecilia Gastardo-Conaco and Angelito Manalili.

Other emeritus professors who signed the statement were Rosalinda Onofreo, Guillermo Tabios, Eduardo Tadem, Amaryllis Tiglao-Torres, Nicanor Tiongson, Lily Rose Tope, Basilio Esteban Villaruz and Roy Ybañez.

Other signatories included former and current deans Dina Ocampo, Lenore dela Cruz, Jimmuel Naval, Maria Antonia Tanchuling and Eduardo Gonzalez.

“Having assumed the UP presidency only on Feb. 10, your handling of the selection process for the chancellor of UP Diliman will signal how you will lead the university in the next six years,” they told Jimenez.

“His selection calls into question the true nature of your leadership and the underlying bases of decisions that directly impact the work and life of the campus,” they added.

With Vistan’s selection, they noted that the three most senior academic officials of the university – the president, vice president for academic affairs and Diliman chancellor – do not hold doctorate degrees.

“(This) will not go unnoticed in the international community, especially in this age of ever-rising academic standards. This is not to say that you cannot be up to doing your jobs; but it will be a challenge to dispel the impression that academic achievements come secondary to other factors in UP,” the faculty said.

They urged Jimenez to explain his vote and encourage the other regents to do as well.

As president, Jimenez co-chairs the 11-member BOR with Commission on Higher Education chairman J. Prospero de Vera III.

Other members include Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on higher, technical and vocational education; Baguio Rep. Mark Go, chair of the House committee on higher and technical education; sectoral regents Reynaldo Laserna (alumni), Carl Marc Ramota (faculty), Siegfred Severino (student), Victoria Canape Belegal (staff) and Malacañang appointees Gregorio Pastorfide, Raul Pagdanganan and Gladys Tiongco.

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