Ateneo starts probe of professor accused of sexual harassment
MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Schools Vice President Maria Luz Vilches said on Thursday, October 4, that allegations of sexual harassment against a male longtime professor will now be taken up by the University Committee on Decorum and Investigation.
This means the case has been elevated from the Loyola Schools' office of the vice president and the human resource support office to the university’s official investigating body. (READ: Ateneo professor faces sexual harassment complaint)
In a statement posted on Twitter Thursday night, Vilches apologized to students and their families who may have been harassed by the professor.
“On behalf of the Loyola Schools community, I empathize with and apologize to any and all victims who have experienced such unacceptable behavior, especially perpetrated by someone they trust,” she said.
“To those who have spoken, thank you for your courage. No one should be made afraid to speak the truth,” she added.
Vilches assured students who have come forward that all cases will be “extensively investigated and heard” and that “persons responsible will be held accountable.”
Vilches said the university decided to keep information on students and the still-unnamed professor confidential “to respect the privacy and uphold the dignity of all those concerned” but that the school took allegations of sexual misconduct “very seriously and diligently.”
“We will continue to work towards eradicating all forms of sexual and gender-based violence from our community until each and every one of us feels safe in this place we truly call home,” she said, noting the university's memos and efforts against abuse.
BREAKING: VPLS Maria Luz Vilches releases memo on sexual harassment complaints. Vilches assures the community that investigations will be underway, and that the University is committed to “eradicating all forms of sexual and gender-based violence” in the Ateneo. pic.twitter.com/U5PBig7OcI— The GUIDON (@TheGUIDON) October 4, 2018
Vilches' announcement comes after students, represented by their student council, Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, announced they were set to file a complaint with the university against the professor.
A post in the Facebook group "ADMU Freedom Wall" drew attention to the professor’s alleged sexual harassment that left students uncomfortable. He had alleged invited them for individual consultations in his private bedroom, and messaged students inappropriately.
Despite the attention around incidents involving a particular teacher, student council president Hyacenth Bendaña said it was not the first time sexual harassment cases were filed against professors in the university.
The attention on the case, she said, has resurfaced sexual harassment cases against LS professors filed in the past. – Rappler.com