Ateneo de Manila president apologizes for rising sexual harassment cases on campus

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2019 05:47 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2019 12:58 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The president of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) on Friday apologized for the school's "gaps and inadequacies" in dealing with sexual harassment cases against some faculty members.

"I deeply apologize for all the terrible hurt and pain our community has been going through the past few days," Fr. Jett Villarin said in a statement.

"No one should ever feel unsafe in the classroom, in the office, on campus or anywhere in our community."

 

ADMU officials were criticized for inaction on the rising number of reported sexual harassment and assault cases allegedly committed by some professors.

Students have staged rallies, urging Villarin's administration to fire faculty members who allegedly made unethical advances towards their students.

 

Villarin said he "accepted" all the criticism hurled at his administration, adding they "still have much learning and listening to do to make things better" for the students.

"We acknowledge the extreme difficulty survivors face in coming forward to report instances of sexual harassment," he said.

The ADMU president said he would set up an Office for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults directly under his office to deal with the sexual harassment problem.

"The administration shall hold consultations with our different stakeholders so that these and other possible initiatives can be set up in the remaining months of this first semester," Villarin said.

Meanwhile, the Guidon, the Ateneo de Manila University's official student publication, on Saturday posted on Facebook a message by "members of the Loyola Schools community" defending one of the accused faculty members, who has been named on social media.

The group said it wasn't standing for "this practice of trial by publicity and mob lynching."

"Such methods not only hurt individuals, but also undermine the efforts of the academic community to engage in genuine dialogue," it added.