Last month, a post about the alleged firing of Martin Ronda, a professor from the Physical Education (PE) Department, circulated online, which sparked interest and debate among students and alumni alike. As written on the original post, Ronda narrated that he was “kicked out” of DLSU due to a complaint filed by a student, who had reportedly involved a lawyer and the student’s parents. The viral post was initially published online by one of Ronda’s former students.
According to the post, the complaint stemmed from an incident in class, where Ronda “embarrassed” the student. However, it was argued that the professor, known for his stern demeanor, did not embarrass the student but rather called the student’s attention for coming late to class a second time.’
Sentiments from former students
Due to the nature of the post, many students were led to believe in the account of events that transpired over Ronda’s departure from DLSU. The incident became a source of criticism among students and alumni, as many of Ronda’s former students believe that they have learned a lot from the renowned PE instructor despite his strict approach to teaching.
Frances Callado (II, BSINSYS) shares, “[Ronda] might be super strict, but he was the first prof that [enlightened] me about different real-life values that we, Lasallians, must uphold for our future—that we should honor our parents about their sacrifices for our tuition and the art and science of all the ballroom dances that we might use for social gatherings, and so on.”
“When I entered Sir Ronda’s class he immediately asked me ‘Who are you and why are you late?’” Janina Baguilat (III, AB-OCM) recounts. “He asked me whose fault it [was] and I said mine, because I didn’t wake up earlier to avoid the traffic.” Despite this incident, she considers Ronda “to be strict but a very good teacher.”
On the ongoing issue of Ronda’s departure from the University, Rissy De Leon (III, AB-LIT) is just one of his many former students who are opposed to Ronda’s “biased and unjust termination.” As of press time, the Facebook group “Bring Ronda Back” has over 1,900 members. The group is also home to a number of posts by former students recalling their fond memories of FTDANCE (Fitness and Wellness in Dance) under Ronda.
Since the post went viral, the PE Department became the target of criticism and online bashing due to its involvement with the alleged firing of Ronda. In an interview with The LaSallian, PE Department Chair Dr. Janet Mariano sits down to clarify some of the allegations thrown at the department.
Dr. Mariano clarifies that Ronda’s contract in DLSU recently ended. Ronda, who had only been a part-time faculty member in the PE Department, took on a full load every term since the termination of his contract in 2013. Dr. Mariano was the one who brought Ronda back to the University after his contract initially ended three years ago.
On the claim that Ronda was inconceivably dismissed due to a single case that involved a lawyer, Dr. Mariano explains that not only one complaint had been filed. Rather, a series of complaints were forwarded to the department since Ronda’s return in 2013.
When pressed on the issue, Dr. Mariano describes that some information regarding the case is “confidential,” but warns that students should be careful with what they post online. “I’m not sure if [what is posted online contains] complete [information] coming from [Ronda],” she shares.
“It pains me deeply that some are too quick to judge and [doubt] the University for being unjust without finding out how accurate and complete [the online post is],” she expresses. Hoping to avoid similar instances in the future, Dr. Mariano intends to “find out how to go about irresponsible posting.”
Miguel Magana (III, BS-CPE), grandson of Ronda, reveals that he is currently teaching dance in De La Salle-College of St. Benilde. When contacted by The LaSallian, Magana said that Ronda refused to comment on the matter “until the administration takes action with what happened.”
Meanwhile, DLSU Faculty Association (FA) President Dante Leoncini, declining to comment on the matter, notes that the FA was not informed of the incident nor did Ronda approach the FA for assistance.
“The problem is Ronda should have come to me, but he didn’t. Maybe he’s not a member of the FA,” Leoncini states. He also points out the possibility that Ronda has not renewed his membership in the FA, citing that faculty members are required to renew their membership every year.