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MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman-University Student Council (USC) on Tuesday, July 5, urged campus officials to probe the latest claim of hazing-related violence by a university fraternity.
In a letter to Rosalio Aragon, chair of the university’s Office of Student Ethics, the UP Diliman student council sought a “fact-finding and investigation” into the reported hazing violence, which was made public through a series of tweets on Sunday night, July 3, by the now-suspended Twitter account @UPSILONLEAKS.
The tweets contained graphic video and photo images of the alleged hazing incident. As of Monday, July 4, @UPSILONLEAKS had been suspended for violating community standards.
A new account has cropped up on Twitter, also posting videos and photos showing the alleged violence and decrying what it called a pattern of covering up fraternity-linked violence in the university.
“Since the images and information contained in the account cannot be verified at this time, we are requesting intervention from your good office to conduct fact-finding and investigation,” the USC said in its letter.
“In the interest of of protecting student welfare, we firmly request for outmost guidance from your office and constant coordination with USC in devising resolutions on the matter. We are open to a dialogue as you see fit,” the student council added.
The Philippine Collegian, UP Diliman’s official student publication, reported on July 5 that the now-deleted tweets showed mauled students wearing white shirts and denim pants.
The report also said paper was taped on their chests, showing their names, degree programs, general weighted average, and affiliations.
The suspended Twitter account has a record of breaking news of violence involving members and officials of Upsilon Sigma Phi, one of the oldest fraternities in Asia and the oldest UP student organization .
In 2018, Upsilon was also embroiled in a controversy after members’ violent and misogynist conversations leaked online, igniting a national media firestorm. (READ: More groups slam ‘violent, misogynist’ frat-linked chat)
In 2015, the ruling student party in the university, UP Alyansa, expelled its own member, then USC chairperson JP delas Nieves, after he refused to quit following his fraternity’s involvement in an attack against members of a rival group.
A year earlier, the same fraternity was also in the news following a hazing incident that injured a neophyte of minor age.
Upsilon Sigma Phi is one of the oldest fraternities in Asia and the oldest student organization of UP. The fraternity, which has no chapters outside UP, counts among its prominent members the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and slain senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino III. Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, former UP president; and Justice Secretary Boying Remulla are also Upsilonians.
Other UP fraternities have also been involved in other similar cases, including the 2019 case involving the UP Sigma Rho Fraternity.
If proven guilty, both the victim and the fraternity involved could be penalized for violating the UP code of student conduct, for “creating and/or engaging in disorder, tumult, breach of peace, or serious disturbance.”
The fraternity members who conducted the hazing activity could also face jail time and fines for violating the Anti-Hazing Act of 2018.
Rappler has reached out to the allegedly involved fraternity but has still to receive a reply. This page will be updated once they respond.
In a statement on Thursday, July 7, UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo condemned and reiterated the university’s “stand against frat-related violence.”
He said that while no student “has been identified or implicated in any of the photos/videos,” the university will look into the matter and coordinate with student organizations to “verify information.”
Two days later on Saturday, July 9, the USC said it would launch “independent initiatives” to assist the university in the investigation.
LGBTQ+ organization UP Babaylan on July 4 condemned “all fraternities that continue to propagate violence in the name of ‘brotherhood.’”
“It has been almost four years since the #LonsiLeaks scandal and not a single frat man has been held accountable for the culture of impunity they cultivate. So many deaths have been caused by hazing despite the existence of an Anti-Hazing Law, and yet, fraternities continue to get away with it,” UP Babylan said in a statement
UP Babaylan also called for the abolition of fraternities: “We refuse to acknowledge the reasoning along the lines of ‘not all frats’ or ‘not all men’ in justifying rotten behavior. Toxic masculinity, systemic violence, and institutionalized sexism have always been the foundations of these brotherhoods. So, just like the patriarchy, these fraternities can no longer be reformed – only abolished.”
UP Babaylan is the longest-existing duly recognized LGBTQ+ student organization in the Philippines and in Asia.
How do you feel about fraternities and frat culture? Sound off in the comments section! – Rappler.com