Sunday, September 25, 2011

On the ouster of the dean of UP-Cebu, an open statement from the Student Council

We are republishing a letter, already seen in Facebook!, about the ouster of the dean of the University of the Philippines, Cebu. We hope that deans, chancellors even must be conscious of the general sentiments of their constituencies, which must not play secondary to the designs and wants of friends and artificially created allies or personal agendas.

We are willing to give space for the reply of Dean Avila to this open statement

Response to Monsod

by UpCebu Sc on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 8:41pm

UP Cebu dean’s ouster movement did not come from made up stories and unfounded complaints. It rooted from seven years of the dean’s patent autocratic leadership. The campaign was not launched and participated by only a handful. In fact, over 70% of UP Cebu constituents signed the manifesto in favour of Dr. Avila’s ouster. On March 8, 2011, UP Cebu held a one-day strike participated by hundreds of constituents.

Under the UP Charter provision on democratic governance in the University that should be based on collegiality, representation, accountability, transparency and active participation of its constituents, Dr. Avila failed to involve full participation in the design of the program of UP Cebu's autonomy.

The dean’s unpopular and recurring decision to abolish the high school was opposed not only by UP Cebu students and alumni but also by the Cebu community. UP Cebu high school provides quality and accessible education to poor but deserving students. To abolish the high school because it is non-income generating only proves that UP is geared towards trekking the road to commercialization where deserving kids from poor families do not have a place.

Dr. Avila proved his autocratic leadership when he granted non-voting members of the Executive Committee voting power to favourably cause the closure of the UP High School of the Professional Education Division (PED). Immediately after, the committee sent a proposal to abolish the high school to the Office of the University Chancellor. Without waiting for the Chancellor’s reply, the dean issued a memorandum directing the high school to stop accepting applicants. Worse, he
issued another memorandum ordering the high school to request permission to hold all activities from the Office of the Dean to suppress further opposition from the constituents and the alumni.

Dr. Avila did not listen to his constituents despite the vehement calls for genuine leadership and democratic governance. Instead, he stood firm on his unilateral decision to remove the student
representative from the Executive Committee. He even declared it as final and non-negotiable. He
reasoned out that we were only following the 2006 Revised UP System Code wherein no student
representative is in the committee. He also added that UP Cebu is the only campus in the UP system
that has a student representative in the Execomm. Instead of viewing this as a problem, he should
be proud. He is in the position to encourage other UP administrators to follow the example of UP
Cebu and to include the students in its decision making so that we may march towards progress and
democratic governance.

The student representative plays a vital role in representing the students, airing out their
concerns and upholding their right to take part in the decision making of the college. With the sole
representative of the students gone, how are we supposed to inform the administration of our
problems? How is the college able to perform and march towards progress when it refuses to listen to
its constituents?

Dr. Avila also hired then Supervising Administrative Officer Al-sidry Shariff despite his lack
of credentials and complaints against him for qualified theft. He did not act on reported issues of
harassment by Mr. Shariff against university staff and security guards.
We suggest that Prof. Monsod visit UP Cebu. She should take a look at the now defunct
soccer field beside the Arts and Sciences building. Dean Avila has allowed the developer Green
Peaks to dump their excavated material on the field without benefit for the college other than five
trucks of garden soil. His non-action on the encroachment of Green Peaks on UP Cebu property now
endangers the UP high school from land slide due to softening of the soil as caused by heavy rain.

But the last straw was the retrenchment of the 15 guards. We could not understand how his
administration could dare to do it to honest and hardworking men who worked for years to ensure
the safety of UP Cebu constituents. The winning bidder was willing to absorb all 15 guards. Even UP
Cebu Security Committee Chairperson Prof. Karl Roque was supportive of the retention of the UP
guards. Dean Avila and his crony Supervising Administrative Officer Al-Sidry Shariff, however, refused
the retention of the 15 UP guards for the unfounded reason of inefficiency. Such excuse to terminate
the UP guards was clearly shallow and can readily be remedied. Moreover, the replacement of guards
does not necessarily ensure efficiency.

The students of UP Cebu urge Prof. Monsod to not base her assertions on few documents
provided by one party only. As a professor who served the university for 40 years, she should
be sensible enough to ask for documents from both parties so she could formulate her opinions
scientifically. We challenge Prof. Monsod to know all the things behind every complaint filed by UP
Cebu constituents against Dr. Avila. It is clear; however, that Prof. Monsod’s stand on Dr. Avila’s
dismissal as dean is driven by her utter dislike to the new UP President Alfredo E. Pascual.

UP Cebu Student Council 2011-2012
Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante (NKE)
League of Filipino Students (LFS)- UP Cebu
UP Cebu students

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