Rock and a hard place: When a university president’s frat is in hot water

November 26, 2018 - 11:42 AM
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Quezon Hall in UP Diliman
File photo of gathering of students at Quezon Hall in UP Diliman Campus. (Facebook/CSSP Student Council)

Danilo Concepcion is president of the University of the Philippines and a member of the heavily criticized Upsilon Sigma Phi. This puts him in a difficult position as his fraternity brothers are being tagged in a leaked online conversation condemned by many.

Concepcion recently aired his dismay over the chat transcript’s disturbing content as Upsilon Sigma Phi celebrates its month-long centennial anniversary.

The Upsilon scandal, dubbed as #Lonsileaks, contains messages of support for the bloody Martial Law years, assault on women and genocide of indigenous people.

The uproar against these views and Upsilon itself first started online, and then soon translated into protest gatherings inside UP campuses.

“It personally pains me for my fraternity, which is celebrating its Centennial, to have been associated with these posts. They do not represent what we have stood for all these years, as they bring us back to the darkness rather than the light,” Concepcion said.

Without admitting to any fault, he called on his brothers to investigate the matter and vowed that he will not get involved should any of them is found accountable.

“Let me be absolutely clear about this: I will not protect any fraternity brother who may be found culpable of these kinds of offensive acts. I call on my fellow Upsilon alumni to support me in this position, so we can bring the fraternity forward into a new and more progressive century,” he said.

Upsilon argues that there is a “concerted effort” to destroy its reputation since the controversy blew up days after their festivities last Sunday, November 18.

Last November 20, 2018, an anonymous source posted unverified screenshots of an alleged conversation containing various…

Posted by Upsilon Sigma Phi on Thursday, November 22, 2018

 

“These postings are being attributed to a few students who are members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi. The student members of the Fraternity take these accusations very seriously and will not tolerate members espousing such backward, misogynistic, and discriminatory views,” it added.

Upsilon similarly tells an ongoing internal probe and results of it will be coordinated with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Three of its members, Yael Toribio, Juan Carlo Tejano and Ian Serrano, previously issued separate statements on Facebook that denounced the messages conveyed in the screenshots. But these were deleted immediately after.

Critics, who observed a pattern in the statements, were able to make copies prior to being taken down.

Serrano, meanwhile, is the only Upsilon member who declared his resignation from the group.

On other fraternity-related incidents

Concepcion also mentioned the recent violent conflict between Upsilon and Alpha Phi Beta, another fraternity in UP.

Meanwhile, the dean of the College of Social Sciences ordered the removal of Upsilon’s exhibit, which is scheduled to stay until December 7, from the building’s lobby following the brawl.

It’s uncertain as of writing if participants are identified and dealt with.

Amid these recent spate of fraternity-related incidents, Concepcion said that his office will provide “protection and assistance” for those who feel threatened.

“To anyone who may feel personally threatened or aggrieved by these recent incidents, I am offering the protection and assistance of my office in seeing to it that your case is attended to, that your safety and security are assured, and that justice is served,” he added.

President’s statements found wanting

UP alumni and students, however, did not find Concepcion’s attempts to assure the university community of his commitment to address fraternity-related problems that hounded the state educational institution for years.