fraternities in the Philippines

After leak of lewd messages, UP Visayas fraternity expels 12 members

After leak of lewd messages, UP Visayas fraternity expels 12 members
“These traits of objectifying women and discriminating against members of the LGBT community are unbecoming of a Scintillan and will not be tolerated in our organization,” says the fraternity

To prove it was serious in stamping out sexual harassment and discrimination among its ranks, the Scintilla Jvris fraternity of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) expelled 12 of its members involved in a leaked group chat which contained lewd messages. 

The UPV Scintilla Jvris said in a statement released on Thursday, July 16, that the decision came following the fraternity’s internal investigation and deliberation, taking into account the degree of participation and overall gravity of the offense of those involved. 

“The acts of the persons involved were done consciously, knowing and freely. It was made without due regard not only to their status as students and alumni of UP, but also as members of Scintilla Jvris,” it added. 

Scintilla Jvris clarified that the 12 expelled members were not operating under the instruction of the fraternity. It said that those punished blatantly violated and failed to reflect the principles of the fraternity. 

The leaked conversation contained alleged screenshots of a group chat among UPV Scintilla Juris members on June 26. The screenshots included sharing of nude videos and photos of women, describing gay people as “snowflakes,” and sexualizing minors #ManamitSHS (Yummy senior high school students).

“These traits of objectifying women and discriminating against members of the LGBT community are unbecoming of a Scintillan and will not be tolerated in our organization,” the group said standing by its previous statement of denouncing misogyny, homophobia and sexual violence. 

Scintilla Jvris also said that the group chat was created in 2016 to discuss and implement projects and other academic concerns by some members of the fraternity. 

“Through time, however, it appears that it had lost its original purpose, as selected portions thereof leaked through Twitter, depicted lewd and indecent content,” Scintilla Jvris added.

Although the leaked contents may be subjected to a separate inquiry by proper authorities, they pointed out that the behavior was undeniably “illustrative of a deplorable character” that the group cannot and will never tolerate.

It also expressed its empathy to the victims including its sister sororities Stella Juris and Astrvm Scientis. 

“We deeply empathize with those who were directly and indirectly impacted by the acts of the aforementioned former members, for their pain and trauma brought about by this unfortunate event, including our sisters in Stella Juris and Astrvm Scientis, whose individual trust and concern for us have been compromised owing to this depressing development,” the fraternity said in a statement. 

Measures to implement

To prevent the same incident from happening again, the fraternity said it would form an internal anti-sexual harassment committee and implement amendments to its constitution and bylaws, enforcing zero tolerance for such behavior. 

“The Fraternity is taking steps to face the present challenge and to provide effective mechanisms in order to deter any similar or graver acts and incidents in the future,” Scintilla Jvris said. 

It also added that it has coordinated with the UPV Office of Student Affairs and would cooperate with the Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment to ensure that those involved were held accountable for their actions, under due process. 

The group would also assist those affected by the actions of the former members. 

“UPV Scintilla Jvris is one with women and the LGBT community in forwarding equal rights and in creating safer spaces for everyone. To keep right when right and to set right when wrong,” the group added. – Rappler.com