AN OPEN LETTER TO U.P. COLLEAGUES
by Professor Roland G. Simbulan
This coming November 19-22, the faculty members of U.P. System will once again elect their representative and voice in the highest policy-making body of the University. During the nomination round last October, many of our rank and files colleagues nominated me and I have accepted the challenge for another mandate as your representative in the U.P. Board of Regents.
You may want to ask why, after having been elected to serve a one year term as your Faculty Regent in 2006, why I am again running to be the representative of the rank and file faculty?
The Term of the Faculty Regent under the old Charter
The University of the Philippines recognizes that the one year term of the Faculty Regent under the old U.P. Charter is too short, because it takes almost a year to just familiarize yourself with the complexities of the U.P. system comprising 7 CUs in 13 campuses. That is why when the new U.P. Charter was proposed and made into law in 2008, the one year term of the Faculty Regent was extended to two years. The 3 Malacanang Regents likewise have a 2 year term, which can
even be renewed. The Alumni Regent has a multi-year term. Former U.P. President Dodong Nemenzo served two one-year terms as Faculty Regent.
Accomplishments as 2006 Faculty Regent:
A. During my one-year stint as FR in 2006 under the old U.P. Charter, I have brought to the attention of the U.P. Board of Regents issues such as:
1. the review of the tenureship requirement of refereed publications;
2. inconsistent university criteria for merit promotions;
3. institutional protection of non-tenured victims of sexual harassment leading to amendments in provisions of the University Code;
4. the review and reversal of several administrative cases that did not follow the decorum of due process in various campuses of the University.
B. Reaffirming the faculty’s role in a true University of the People, Responsive to University and People’s Issues
1. I have as FR in 2006 also taken a strong stand and position on the following issues: the plight of our janitors whose labor and services is privately contractualized; the proposed abolition of the University Food Service; support for a new U.P. Charter that would further democratize the governance practices of the University for which I wrote a letter to the Senators; the tuition fee increases that will make U.P. more inaccessible to our people; the extra-judicial killings to which I wrote a letter to the United Nations and the European Union; Proclamation 1017; the Subic Rape Case, and the filing of rebellion charges against former FR and U.P. President Francisco Nemenzo.
2. Through regular regional and national consultations (like the first national conference of U.P. personnel which I organized in 2006), I have become very familiar with the plight and conditions of our RANK AND FILE FACULTY MEMBERS in all the 13 campuses and 7 constituent universities including our units at U.P. Clark and U.P. Subic. I held monthly meetings with the national officers of both the
U.P. Academic Union and the All U.P. Workers Union before every monthly meeting of the BOR. My office likewise created an e-group for our rank and file faculty members covering the entire U.P. system.
Leadership Role in University Issues within BOR
3. The BOR in 2006 designated me to Chair three (3) Regents’ Committees which submitted their findings and recommendations to the BOR. I was also designated member in another Regents’ Committee to review administrative cases, and two(2) other fact findings committees of the BOR.
4. I presented to the Board in 2006 a position paper with recommendations based on system-wide faculty consultations on the controversial “Up or Out” tenure issue that stringently required publication in a refereed journal, arguing that this led to the loss of U.P.’s excellent teachers and loss of investment, prompting the BOR to ask the U.P. system to review the policy and to implement this rule in a more flexible manner. In December 2010, I presented to the faculty rank and file and the BOR a report with the title, “The Condition of the U.P. Faculty Today.” Also, “The Faculty and Reps Agenda” was prepared and presented to the Board of Regents.
The Strategic Role of the Faculty Regent
I will continue to contribute –in an accountable and consultative way — to the advancement of faculty and academic employees’ rights and welfare based on my perception of the vital and strategic role of a Faculty Regent in the highest policy-making body of the University.
In these times, these duties include:
1. Vigorous representation of faculty and academic employees’ interests, rights and welfare in the highest policy making body of the University;
2. Promotion and institutionalization of the democratization of the University in both academic and administrative matters;
3. Working for more support and incentives for research activities of the faculty and academic personnel in the University.
4. Working for higher compensation and benefits for the faculty and academic personnel.
5. Making the U.P. academe more responsive to national issues and in promoting the cultural identity of Filipinos; and
6. Assisting in strengthening and consolidating the University’s system-wide academic union to advance the rights, benefits and welfare of its rank and file faculty.
7. Pushing for the status and role of U.P. education as a “national strategic priority”, through more incentives that will enhance and increase U.P.’s public intellectuals and the number of scientific papers that are relevant to the Filipino people’s needs, especially the marginalized sectors of our society.
8. Strengthening the public character of the University of the Philippines, so that it shall not only be the citadel of excellence, but shall be accessible to the Filipino people regardless of their income or status in life.
9. Seeking the review of the direction towards corporatization and privatization of services of U.P. education and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), so that the State will increase its social investment of education, in accordance with the 1987 Constitution.
10. Strengthening the University’s curricula so that there is a values or ethics component, i.e. patriotism and social responsibility, particular to every discipline that it offers.
The Role of the Faculty Regent as a leading Public Intellectual and Representative Voice of the Rank and File
In sum, the Faculty Regent I believe, should lead the U.P.’s public intellectuals and be a representative voice of the rank and file on critical issues not only of the University, but also those that will shape and influence the political discourse of our nation.
If given another mandate, I will work harder for the rights, interests and welfare of the Rank and File faculty and all academic employees of the University. As I have done in the past 31 years as a Professor in the University —as a member of the rank and file, or as an administrator — I WILL CONTINUE TO BE YOUR CHAMPION.
I will fight for you.