Recent incidents within the University of the Philippines have drawn renewed attention to the roles and actuations of fraternities on our campuses—in particular, a brawl involving members of two fraternities, and even more disturbingly, a series of offensive posts on social media attributed to the Upsilon Sigma Phi.
Let me speak first as the President of this University.
Whatever the source of these reported posts may be, the language and the behavior they contain are reprehensible and totally unacceptable in our community. Such flagrant misogyny has no place in a university dedicated to the highest ideals and the practice of gender equality and human rights. That practice is best tested in our private utterances and actions, and the attitudes displayed in these published posts demonstrate how much more we need to do to reform medieval mindsets within the university at all levels.
Let me now speak as an Upsilonian.
It personally pains me for my fraternity, which is celebrating its Centennial, to have been associated with these posts. They do not represent what we have stood for all these years, as they bring us back to the darkness rather than the light.
But my pain cannot be compared to that of those maligned by the posts, and I assure the University community that I will do all I can, both as President and as a fellow of the fraternity, to root out this problem and to instill or reaffirm a culture of respect, tolerance, and decency within Upsilon and our entire fraternity system.
Let me be absolutely clear about this: I will not protect any fraternity brother who may be found culpable of these kinds of offensive acts. I call on my fellow Upsilon alumni to support me in this position, so we can bring the fraternity forward into a new and more progressive century.
The long-held excuse that “Boys will be boys” can no longer hold. We will not tolerate misogyny, sexual harassment, and bullying or any form of violence against women and other groups in this University, and any such offenses will be dealt with to the full extent of our judicial and administrative remedies.
Accordingly, I have instructed UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan to expedite the investigation into the recent brawl on campus reportedly involving members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi and Alpha Phi Beta fraternities to identify the participants, establish liabilities, and file the appropriate cases against the offenders.
I am also directing all Chancellors to require all new and renewing student organizations for their members to undergo gender sensitivity training before accreditation or renewal is granted, and to intensify security on their campuses to ensure a peaceful and secure environment for students, faculty, staff, and residents.
To anyone who may feel personally threatened or aggrieved by these recent incidents, I am offering the protection and assistance of my office in seeing to it that your case is attended to, that your safety and security are assured, and that justice is served.
May these challenges become an opportunity for all of us to work together for a safer, fairer, and more convivial University environment.
DANILO L. CONCEPCION
23 November 2018