After one its faculty members was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct, the Ateneo de Manila University said it is taking measures to prevent similar incidents from happening.
Maria Luz Vilches, vice president for the university’s Loyola Schools, in a letter released on Thursday said that the school administration is conducting an official investigation into the sexual complaints filed by students against one of its college faculty members.
Vilches said the evidence gathered so far have been elevated to the university’s Committee on Decorum and Investigation.
“We assure you that all of the cases that have been filed by victims will be investigated and heard, and persons responsible will be held accountable,” she wrote.
The allegations started when a post on the “Ateneo Freedom Wall,” a Facebook page to which students of the university anonymously submit stories and confessions about their life in the university, criticized an unnamed faculty member for speaking out against abuse when he himself made students uncomfortable with his behavior.
The anonymous contributor said the faculty member, whom he referred to as a “famous professor on Twitter” invited students to individual consultations in his bedroom and message them to solicit pictures of their feet.
The contributor said that the professor usually targeted students who had difficulty in his class.
Individual consultations are a known practice by instructors in the university to properly and privately discuss their students’ academic performance.
The post, which has received over 800 reactions and 270 shares as of press time, was met by clamor from students to immediately penalize the unnamed professor.
— Diana Mendoza (@itsmeitsdi) September 30, 2018
Taking the necessary steps
The Ateneo student government has confirmed that an investigation into the complaints is already underway. According to the school’s student leaders, the school is developing a stricter anti-sexual harassment policy.
— ADMU Sanggunian (@ADMUSanggu) October 3, 2018
Students, alumni and faculty members continue to call for action on harassment complaints in the university to be taken.
As per the memo, one matter has been elevated to the CODI, the university committee on decorum and investigation of sexual harassment cases. Help stop and prevent future abuse by sending (additional) evidence (ex screenshots) & written narratives to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Leland Dela Cruz (@lelanddelacruz) October 5, 2018
Some alumni who claim to have received advances from the professor have also pledged to help in the investigation.
I'm done downloading my Facebook chat history with that creep so I can comb through it and submit the relevant parts as evidence, along with a notarized statement. Sharing in the hopes that it would spur others who are on the fence about filing a complaint to take action.
— Kevin Ansel Dy (@kibindy) October 4, 2018
Under the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, educators can be penalized if they are found to have solicited sexual favors in exchange for giving a passing grade or granting a scholarship or award to students, or if the sexual advances made cause an “intimidating, hostile or offensive environment” for the student.
Those found guilty will be sentenced to one to six months in prison and fined anywhere between P10,000 to P20,000, at the discretion of the court.