By Noreen Jazul
Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) said on Monday that it will immediately conduct an impartial investigation on alleged sexual harassment by “certain” members of its faculty once it has verified the veracity of the allegations.
In a statement issued on Saturday, ADMU’s Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point Committee assured students of the university that it will “listen and support anyone who has experienced harassment.”
“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,” Maria Elissa J. Lao, chairperson of GAD Focal Point Committee said.
Last week, current and former students of ADMU, particularly high school students, shared their experiences of being harassed by their teachers on social media.
One netizen shared that some of her teachers in Ateneo High School have “admitted” to have stared at her legs, “after commenting on the length” of her short.
The same netizen said her friend was “massaged” and asked to “go on a date” by another teacher.
“A lot of Ateneo faculty members are bastos (rude). Even a female teacher admitted to openly flirting with her students and trivialized the thought of being raped by a fellow Atenean on social media,” another netizen tweeted.
The GAD Focal Point Committee called on members of the ADMU community who have information on the matter to coordinate with them or the Loyola Schools Gender Hub.
“The Gender and Development Focal Point together with the Loyola Schools gender Hub.will ensure the safety and well-being of anyone who is willing to come forward,” Lao said.
The committee also assured the public that the safety and welfare of ADMU’s students and its entire community is on top of its priorities.
“We are committed to institutionalize reforms to ensure that our university is a safe space for all,” Lao said.
ADMU wasn’t the only school that was called out for sexual harassment over the past week. Students from other schools such as Miriam College High School, and St. Paul College Pasig have also shared stories of abuses in their respective schools.
Senator Risa Hontiveros in a statement on Sunday has called for schools to “#DoBetter in protecting our children & youth from sexual harassment.”
“The Bawal Bastos Law that I authored mandates all schools, private and public, at all levels, to act on complaints of sexual harassment,” Hontiveros said.
“Perpetrators of sexual abuse, especially those in positions of power, should be punished and in some cases, turned over to the authorities,” the senator added.