Schools can have students dismissed for joining unauthorized groups, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Monday, Jan. 25.
“Academic freedom includes the right of an academic institution to determine whom to admit and whom to exclude based on clear academic standards and norms of student conduct,” the secretary said.
Guevarra made the statement in light of the decision of the University of Sto. Tomas to dismiss Grade 12 student and UST High School Student Council member Datu Ampatuan Jr. for joining Anakbayan which is an organization that the school does not recognize.
He declined to comment if what UST did was justified.
“I cannot comment on the UST incident as I do not have all the facts before me,” he noted.
But the secretary advised schools to implement due process before taking action against students.
Guevarra explained “academic freedom should be exercised with utmost circumspection, fairness, and respect for the rights of others.
“There are many ways of observing due process: conducting a hearing, issuing a show-cause order or a notice to explain, etc.,” the secretary stated.
“But if the facts are undisputed, the school may proceed as it deems appropriate and reasonable under the given circumstances,” he added.