Regents, students question extension of search for UP Baguio chancellor 

Sherwin de Vera

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Regents, students question extension of search for UP Baguio chancellor 

UP Baguio remains a bastion of activisism in Northern Luzon.

Sherwin De Vera/rappler

UP president extends the search for the next UP Baguio chancellor 'in consideration of the consistently expressed preference' to have more than one candidate for the office

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines — University of the Philippines (UP) President Angelo Jimenez’s recent directive to extend the search for the next chancellor of UP Baguio has sparked questions and concerns among stakeholders. 

In an April 1 letter to the Board of Regents (BOR), Staff Regent Marie Theresa Alambra and Student Regent Sofia Jan Trinidad said that they did not discuss the extension of the selection process in their meeting. 

The letter stated, “(T)his decision was made without consulting us, the duly appointed Regents from UP Baguio. Likewise, the decision was made without the Search Committee report being disseminated to the Board for our perusal and without any discussion in an official Board meeting.” 

They also requested copies of the report on the selection process and to discuss the matter during the BOR meeting set for April 4. 

The BOR has 11 members and is the UP System’s highest decision-making body. Alambra and Trinidad represent the professional and administrative personnel, and students, respectively, on the Board. 

In a March 27 directive, Jimenez extended the search “in consideration of the consistently expressed preference” of the BOR to have more than one candidate for the office. 

“In consideration of the consistently expressed preference of the Board of Regents to have more than one (1) nominee for high University position, you (the Search Committee) are hereby directed to conduct an extended search for Chancellor of UP Baguio for the purpose of finding additional nominees who may be willing to vie for the position of Chancellor of UP Baguio,” Jimenez said. 

He also granted the terminal leave of professor Rosemary Guiterrez, the current chair of the search committee. Dean Maria Regina Lucia Lizares of the Virata School of Business, UP Diliman, was appointed to take her place. 

The UP President clarified that professor Wilfredo Alangui, who became the sole contender for the seat after incumbent UPB Chancellor Corazon Abansi backed out, was still a candidate. 

In a statement, the UPB Student Council asked Jimenez “to explain and clarify the inconsistencies of the search process.” 

According to them, precedents where the BOR chose a sole nominee for chancellor contradict Jimenez’s claim of the regents’ preference for multiple nominees. They cited the recent appointment of Dr. Jose Camacho Jr. as the 10th UP Los Banos Chancellor and the assumption of Dr. Carmencita Padilla in 2020 as the UP Manila Chancellor. 

The student body said, “We express our deepest concern on this matter, as the decision to extend the search goes against the democratic process we are to uphold inside and outside the institution.” 

They added that the decision to extend the search process demonstrated the lack of transparency and democracy, which merited questioning and accountability. 

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Students (ACS), the oldest political party on campus, said that “an overwhelming number of respected individuals and groups both inside and beyond UP Baguio” support Alangui’s nomination. They also asserted that he was not the lone nominee. They urged Jimenez “to uphold the democracy and transparency of the processes.” 

“(W)e demand that the BOR heed the calls of the constituents of UP Baguio: NO MORE DELAYS TO THE SEARCH PROCESS! BOR, DECIDE NOW!” the group said. – Rappler

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