Ateneo De Manila reiterates stand vs. sexual harassment amid fresh allegations

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The administration of the Ateneo de Manila University reiterated its stance against sexual harassment following a staged protest on Tuesday that called out faculty members allegedly harming students. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 16) — The administration of Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday reiterated its stance against sexual harassment following a protest against faculty members harming students.

The University released a statement saying it had heard the cry of its student body and assured that it would exhaust all means to prevent harassment on campus.

“We assure the Ateneo community and the public that we are taking every step possible to ensure that students and employees are safe from sexual harassment,” the statement from the University Marketing and Communications Office said.

It reiterated that the University does not tolerate sexual abuse, but did not disclose details of the allegations.

“The Ateneo de Manila University does not tolerate or condone sexual harassment by any member of its community,” it said.

In a separate statement, Ateneo President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin said that they have tasked the legal counsel for the Loyola Schools to put together a draft anti-sexual harassment manual which would define what sexual harassment is, provide sanctions, outline grievance procedures and provide modes of intervention and assistance.

Villarin said this is in response to the Safe Spaces Act which mandates academic institutions to publish grievance procedures to facilitate the filing of sexual harassment complaints by students and employees.

On Tuesday, Ateneo students staged a rally outside a faculty building and the student services office carrying placards and demanding the removal of “sexual predators” in the campus. The protest was held after a male student posted online his recent experience of abuse by female professor.

This is the second time the University has responded to sexual abuse allegations thrown against its faculty members. In October 2018, Ateneo released a memorandum signed by University Vice President Maria Vilches promising to investigate a "famous" male professor -- known for being outspoken online -- for allegedly making his students uncomfortable by asking for photos of their feet and inviting them to his room at the University dorm.

Some students said that there were other incidents where professors took advantage of their students but were not sanctioned by Ateneo.

“The systems put in place in institutions like the Ateneo have failed in creating a safe environment for its students, and neglected to uphold the very morals that it aims to instill in its constituents,” said the Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, the University's student government.