18 April 2010
(A Statement of Concern from the ACT Teachers Party List – Ateneo de Manila University Chapter)
The ACT Teachers Party List (Ateneo de Manila University Chapter) joins the University community in expressing its concern over the manner upon which the University administration handled the resignation of Manuel V. Pangilinan as Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Mr. Pangilinan had acknowledged and apologized for the multiple acts of plagiarism that he committed in connection with the speech that he delivered during the recent commencement exercises of the University. He resigned as a consequence of his admission to this very serious academic offense.
The University community’s integrity is now under grave threat because of the circumstances emanating from Mr. Pangilinan’s resignation. The University thrives on its adherence to academic excellence, intellectual honesty and fair application of academic rules. These basic principles are among the most important ones that members of the University community seek to inculcate to its students. The University does not and should never tolerate plagiarism, in any form, from any individual, as it grossly violates the very principles upon which the foundation of the functions of the University rests. If the Chairman of the Board of Trustees – the highest policy making body of the University – had himself admitted to have committed such a serious offence, then he himself is guilty of such academic transgression and should be made to account for such a wrongdoing. Disregarding this fact is a gross disrespect to the very core value of academic existence.
More disturbing is the Ateneo de Manila University administration’s dilly dallying on the issue with its attempts to rationalize its initial decision of non-acceptance of the Mr.Pangilinan’s resignation. The Board of Trustees’ initial official reaction of not accepting the resignation of Mr. Pangilinan was done without consulting the students, faculty and alumni. Only after a huge clamor from the University Community did Mr. Pangilinan made his offer to resign irrevocable, and only then did the University administration accede to public pressure and accept the resignation. It appears as if the numerous financial grants and assistance that Mr. Pangilinan gave to the University for years, became the basis for exonerating intellectual dishonesty and pardoning fraud and deceit. We believe these acts are inimical to our academic life. Financial gain and commercial reward should never have been given primacy over academic principles and moral high ground.
The ACT Teachers Party List (Ateneo de Manila University Chapter) joins the University community in its quest to remain vigilant in ensuring that these events never happen again. It calls for the University administration not to hide behind the cloak of the principles of Catholic generosity, compassion and kindness in rationalizing its failed attempts to contain the problem. We urge the University administration to henceforth ensure that genuine consultation should always take place in all levels of decision making of University governance, and manifest that it indeed puts primacy to the principles of intellectual honesty and academic integrity rather than financial gain and monetary reward.#