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Lasallians condemn DLSU part-timer over ‘offensive’ post on sexual harassment

A Facebook post written last night, June 14, by a faculty member from the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) made rounds online earlier today after it insinuated that Sen. Risa Hontiveros should be sexually harassed by prisoners. 

“I recommend she (Hontiveros) teach the prisoners in [New] Bilibid Prison not to rape,” the post read. “Closed-door session.”

The post, which has since been deleted, had been in reaction to the senator’s earlier statement denouncing rape culture—a recently resurfacing issue after a June 11 post by the Lucban Municipal Police Station told women to refrain from wearing short clothes to avoid being victims of sex crimes. “There is no dress code for rape. Or for sexual harassment,” Hontiveros had emphasized in a tweet last Saturday, June 13, as a response to the matter.

Apprehensions over the faculty member’s post reached the DLSU Community Forum in the form of a Change.org petition at around noon today. As of writing, it has received over 1,400 signatures. With the issue gaining traction, students suggested officially emailing administrators at the department, college, and University level.

Assistant Prof. Lecturer Jeff Corpuz from the Theology and Religious Education Department similarly encouraged raising the concern to DLSU administration as he commented on the post, “I support this campaign…This is an unacceptable behavior for a [faculty member] of a Catholic university.”

The University Student Government (USG) has since released a statement, condemning the faculty member for disparaging Hontiveros’ stance. 

“This behavior is one that we have no tolerance for, and does not reflect our values and morals as an institution,” the statement read, describing the remarks as “distasteful” and “offensive”. The USG further urged students to not remain silent on “discriminatory and misogynistic acts” and proclaimed a continued push for their Safe Spaces Initiative.

Reiterating the stand put forward by their statement, USG President Lance Dela Cruz told The LaSallian that they are closely working with the University administration, having already filed a formal complaint that “called for proper action against the [faculty member’s] post.” 

Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista also issued a statement, urging “academic institutions to implement better safe space policies” as well as imploring the Lasallian community to “speak up against misogyny and other forms of discrimination in the University.” The political party similarly asserted zero tolerance for “malign comments”, adding that everybody “should be safe wearing and doing what they want without becoming preys to malicious individuals.”

The Business College Government, meanwhile, declared that they were “hell-bent” on addressing such concerns in the college. “These types of ‘jokes’ perpetuate a culture of hate, victim-blaming, and rape within our University, and have no place in the Lasallian community,” the college stated.

RVRCOB President Nates Driz expressed that he was “disgusted and disturbed” by the post, especially because it came from a faculty member—“someone whose job [is] to educate Lasallians.” 

“As the college president of [RVRCOB], I have the goal [of fighting] for the best interest of the students, and these comments perpetuate the culture of rape,” he asserted. “There’s no room for misogyny in DLSU.”

Driz also revealed to The LaSallian that they had already reached out to both the college office and the Marketing and Advertising Department, relaying that the latter has since told him that the part-time faculty would not have his contract renewed and would no longer be teaching in RVRCOB next term. 

“They are doing everything in their power to ensure that the [faculty member] who released the statement will be [held] accountable for what he did,” he stressed.

The University administration has yet to issue a formal statement as of press time.

ERRATUM: June 15, 2020; 6:21 pm

The article has been revised to correct the spelling of Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ name.

UPDATE: June 16, 2020; 12:20 pm

Marketing and Advertising Department Chair Mary Julie Balarbar sent a formal statement to the USG to expound on the steps taken by the department in addressing the issues related to their part-time faculty member, reiterating that his contract will not be renewed next term.

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