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Groups demand apology, reform over Ateneo sexual misconduct cases


Members of the Ateneo de Manila University community called for a survivor-centered and trauma-informed community response in addressing sexual and gender-based violence on campus.

“Our community owes the promise of reform and change to the many survivors who, in various avenues and ways, have shared their stories in the pursuit of justice, healing, and a truly safe community. We owe it, too, to survivors who have had to keep silent for fear of being disbelieved or retaliated against,” the Sanggunian: Commission on Anti-Sexual Misconduct and Violence and Time’s Up Ateneo said in a statement.

The group also called on the Ateneo administration to rectify and apologize for an earlier statement it issued, which the group said “misled the community on the issue and discredited the stories and voices of survivors and their advocates.”

“We ask the university administration for a genuine apology for and a clear rectification of the 23 October 2019 memorandum,” it said.

“We ask them to be transparent to the community, beginning with the correction of misleading information, and the release of pertinent updates regarding the specific matters and cases discussed in the said memorandum,” it added.

The group also called on the administration to formally release survivors from any non-disclosure agreements signed with the university offices and to refrain from “weaponizing” these and the Data Privacy Act against survivors and their supporters.

“[T]he university must respect the rights of survivors not only by respecting their ownership of their stories, but also fully upholding their right to privacy if they wish to remain private,” it said.

“We further ask the university not to countenance any disciplinary complaint or adverse action against survivors and their supporters for speaking up, and to investigate acts against them as retaliation,” it added.

Ateneo also recently released a new Code of Decorum and Administrative Rules on Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Sexual Misconduct, and Inappropriate Behavior.

In October 2019, the Ateneo administration said it was taking steps to address sexual harassment on campus after a faculty-led protest against alleged inaction over sexual misconduct cases was held.

Ateneo students on October 15, 2019 staged a protest on campus amid allegations of sexual misconduct by teaching staff.

Ateneo was also previously embattled by similar accusations of sexual misconduct in 2018. — Ma. Angelica Garcia/BM, GMA News

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