The administration of the University of the Philippines is NOT a democracy

In her Inquirer piece “UP Diliman’s top-down leadership” today, columnist Anna Cristina Tuazon laments how “outside observers” are wont to “dismiss” the “passionate, sometimes chaotic expressions of [University of the Philippines (UP)] Diliman students, faculty, and staff” as “disrespectful behavior (or worse, to Red-tag them)”. She then goes on to suggest that members of this UP community are victims of “top-down decisions” that “have not served them well”.

The first big assumption Tuazon makes is a whopper — that those so-called “activists” who violently and destructively protested the decision of the UP Diliman Board of Regents (BOR) to to select UP College of Law dean Edgardo Carlo Vistan II over former UP Diliman chancellor Fidel Nemenzo (said “activists'” preferred candidate) as the new Chancellor of the UP Diliman campus are representative of the overall UP Diliman community. What is Tuazon’s basis for arriving at such a conclusion that she’d confidently state it categorically as fact in her column? Did she do a proper statistical analysis to check if her sample size allows her to assert that conclusion at 95 percent confidence? How many of those crybaby “activists” are even students of the UP Diliman?

The second assumption Tuazon makes is that the UP is administered as a “democracy” and makes an all-too-familiar appeal: “Genuine democracy requires allowing opposition to have a place in the arena of decision-making. Merely following top-down orders is not democracy. We cannot even elect our own leader, the minimum for democracy. To ridicule their outrage and protests is akin to ridiculing citizens who protest against their authoritarian regimes.” On the back of all that, Tuazon then issues this pompous challenge to the new chancellor (my boldface for emphasis):

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Incoming Chancellor Vistan has a huge gap to reconcile. He has been appointed by the UP Board of Regents. He was not appointed by the people. To be a genuine leader of this headstrong multicultural community of fierce independent thinkers, he needs to realize sooner rather than later that his power will not come from the BOR but through the trust he will earn from the people he will serve.

The rules surrounding the appointment of a UP campus chancellor are clearly spelt out in the Administration page of the UP website: “The Chancellor of the constituent university shall be elected by the Board upon nomination of the President of the University, following a process of consultation with the constituents of the constituent university based on standards and guidelines set by the Board.” For its part, the Faculty Manual of the UP Diliman states, “Administration of each [constituent unit (CU)] is vested upon the Chancellor insofar as authorized by the Board of Regents and the UP President. The Chancellor of each CU is elected by the BOR upon nomination by the UP President.”

So, okkkaaayyy… “Opposition”? “Elect our own leader”? “Appointed by the people”? “Authoritarian regimes”? What was Tuazon smoking when she peppered her article with all this “activist” bullshit? Nowhere is it documented that who gets to be chancellor is determined “by the people”. The closest phrase available in official documentation that supports Tuazon’s UP-is-a-democracy ululation is that the BOR is expected to abide by “a process of consultation with the constituents” that is “based on standards and guidelines set by the Board”. Beyond that, Tuazon spins a mere personal fantasy of a “democracy” where none exists which she then dishonestly uses as a crude foundation for her quaint efforts to defend the infantile behaviour of the infantile “activist” community she is personally sympathetic to.

It is no wonder that Filipinos no longer trust Opposition “thought leaders” and their parrots in the media. They routinely insult their readers’ intelligence with their shrill melodrama and the bankrupt reasoning faculties they apply to their work.

2 Replies to “The administration of the University of the Philippines is NOT a democracy”

  1. Their concept of democracy is actually twisted. Democracy is supposed to be rule by the “people.” But, as I explained my articles, and as explained by James Lindsay, “people” doesn’t mean all the people. It only means their specific group and certain people who hold the same ideals as them. In other words, only communists. Those who uphold capitalism are not “people” – implied is that they are to be eliminated. It’s the ultimate in elitist mentality that can be murderous.


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