Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 3 August 2019


The students of the University of the Philippines have recently shown what they are made of. And they have shown up their elders in the university, because they insist that the university live up to its motto “Honor and Excellence,” where honor takes pride of place.

The case involved cheating (in the School of Economics—MY School) in an exam. The students themselves blew the whistle; disgusted at the sight, they brought it to the attention of a faculty member, who brought it to the attention of the Dean, who formed a College Disciplinary Committee (CDC) together with a representative of the university (in cheating cases, the university is the injured party).

The investigation took over three months. The Dean adopted the recommendations of the CDC, sent it up to the university’s Executive Committee (composed of all the deans of all the colleges), which approved it. It was then sent to the president of the university, who reversed the decision with regard to one student. The decision on two other students, who were investigated and brought to his attention earlier, is still pending.

This is where the university studentry came in. Let me quote: “The UPSE Student Council strongly condemns any form of academic dishonesty for we believe that it has no place in a university that prides itself in promoting honor and excellence. We collectively support and stand by our colleagues who were brave enough to step forward as witnesses in this case. Their courage is unmatched—championing the principle of honesty and integrity, no matter the circumstance. Further, we call for the UP administration to uphold the Code’s disciplinary measures, given that the incident was clearly a violation of its regulations. Such violations must not be tolerated and, therefore, must be met with complete justice. We also challenge the Board of Regents to uphold academic integrity which must always be inherent in UP, and to abide by the very virtue that defines our University.

“Integrity serves as the foundation for honor and excellence, and in order for this foundation to remain intact, there must be no question that the highest governing body of the university will uphold its policies and champion intellectual honesty.”

Now, from all eight student organizations of the School: “Promoting the values of honor and excellence, the Alliance of School of Economics Organizations vehemently condemns this incident of academic dishonesty. We call for the university administration to uphold the 2012 Code of Student Conduct of UP Diliman wherein it is stipulated that this act of ‘copying or providing the means or accessing means to copy exam answers’ has corresponding consequences. Further, we stand with the witnesses who continuously fight to ensure that honor and excellence are being sustained even in the smallest circumstance.”

Finally, from the rest of the university: “The League of College Councils of UP Diliman firmly believes that it should be incumbent to every member of the University of the Philippines community always to strive in upholding two fundamental values in every endeavour that they take—honor and excellence. And while we put premium to ensuring that these two coexist, we never compromise the former in the pursuit of the latter…

“Despite the guilty verdict returned by the UPSE College Disciplinary Council after investigating the cases, the University’s Office of the President acquitted the first case, while other cases were stalled. Such decision and handling of the case by the aforementioned office remains questionable, hence we challenge the UP administration through the Board of Regents to uphold an objective decision and maintain the academic integrity in the university.”

Out of the mouths of babes. And during the Board of Regents meeting on July 31, the University Student Council joined the League of College Councils to voice their protest against president Danilo Concepcion’s decision.

These students believe that honesty and integrity must be practiced in the university so such values will not be forgotten when they take their place among the nation’s leaders. No matter who gets hurt.

I am so proud of them, I could bust. Who says there’s no hope for the Philippines?