UP folk gather to press for academic freedom

Published January 28, 2021, 2:39 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

University of the Philippines (UP) students and teachers and other members of the community have gathered at the Diliman campus in Quezon City Thursday as they continue to fight for the academic freedom of the country’s universities amid the unilateral abrogation of the UP-Department of National Defense (DND) accord.

(Photo courtesy of Anakbayan UP Diliman / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The mobilization at the Quezon Hall was held in time with the scheduled UP Board of Regents (BoR) meeting where the sectoral regents were expected to submit a resolution to call on the board to uphold academic freedom and defend the university from threats to its community and campus militarization.

The resolution calls on the BoR to declare UP as a safe place for free thought and expression, criticism, and dissent.

It also noted that the Board should “ensure that acts that will impede upon and violate the academic freedom, human rights, and civil liberties of its constituents are not permitted,” as well as “ensure the constituents’ freedoms to study, research, teach, and organize according to its constituents’ interest.”

They also appealed to the BoR to uphold and fortify the UP-DND accord against police and military forces entering UP campuses, and support causes to institutionalize and legislate the accord into law.

“The Board of Regents shall uphold the non-criminalization of the political beliefs by its constituents, in line with the principle of academic freedom,” the resolution said.

The petitioners also requested the BOR to “continue to stand resolutely with the UP community, pursue subsequent action to the damages done by baseless accusations to the image of the university, its constituents and alumni, and exhaust all means to uphold and defend academic freedom and human rights.”

During the mobilization, the UP community also amplified the calls to resist militarization in schools and communities, and to fight back against the attacks of the Duterte administration.