Together with our colleague, the current Faculty Regent Dr. Lourdes Abadingo, I was one of the 12 original signatories to a letter addressed to the CAS dean on which the contents of the DSS statement, “Pahayag ng mga Dalubguro ng DSS Hinggil sa Isyu ng Pamumuno sa Departamento’ is based. The CAS dean’s action on this matter undermines the department’s collegiality, unity and cohesion as well as the hard-won democratization processes of our University.
1. Through the struggles and efforts of our faculty, the Department of Social Sciences (DSS) has long put into practice a collegial and democratic process –WHICH WAS RECOGNIZED BY ALL PREVIOUS UPM CHANCELLORS AND CAS DEANS FOR MORE THAN THREE DECADES — of selecting a Chair who is ‘generally acceptable’ by the rank and file faculty of the DSS. This general acceptability is based not only on a stringent peer evaluation of academic credentials but also on the values of a strong respect and recognition of democratic consensus building in leadership. “General acceptability” is in fact the first criteria in the same BOR resolution invoked by our good Dean that he forgot to highlight. Those who merely pay lip service to democratization do not appreciate this value, or even attempt to roll back the gains of the University’s democratization process. Even in the highest policy-making body of the University-the BOR- all the sectoral regents are now elected, as a result of hard fought struggles of constituencies to whom they are accountable. Reversing these gains is like replacing Democracy and restoring a Monarchy, or even blatantly staging a coup d’etat.
2. The action of the CAS dean therefore-wittingly or unwittingly- only undermines the values that we teach to our students, and also practice. The DSS faculty have consistently fought for the rights and welfare of others inside and outside our University. As social scientists, we teach and live by these principles.Those who do not recognize these principles do not deserve to be in the leadership of the DSS. They cannot earn our respect if they do not recognize consensus building and collegiality which has long been the basis of unity within our department. Collegially, we struggle, debate and unite around a decision. Much more so if they actively participated in the process agreed upon collegially and yet, after losing, seek to undermine the principle of respecting the results of that very process, perhaps, for power’s sake. We cannot accept being led by someone who even now openly admits to not believing in collegial consensus and democratic leadership. For even if the person concerned did not really respect the process where she lost by a big margin in the first place, at the very least, the good CAS dean could have heeded the advise of our Faculty Regent Dr. Abadingo to bring the issue back to the department for resolution. This is so that the criteria of ‘general acceptability’ is duly met. Let me reiterate and let me be say this point-blank, the ‘No-choice’ inflicted on the DSS faculty by our good dean has not earned the respect of her colleagues in the faculty.
What is left of us if we cannot even show our students and younger colleagues, that we practice what we teach? But we want everyone to know that when these fundamental values are breached, we know how to fight well to defend and to protect these democratic principles. Ipagtanggol at ipaglaban natin ang demokratikong pamamalakad at pamumuno sa ating mahal na Unibersidad.
ROLAND G. SIMBULAN
Professor 12 in Development Studies and Public Management, Department of Social Sciences, CAS and Former Faculty Regent, U.P. System