The struggle for

Justice and Tenure for Prof. Sarah Raymundo

 

UP Diliman

 

February 6, 2009

 

 

The militant Prof. Sarah Raymundo and colleagues and students The backdrop
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Photos courtesy of CONTEND-UP
           
           

 

A statement delivered by Prof. Sarah Raymundo* in the forum "Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang: Political Repression in the Academe," on February 3, 2009 at the Claro M. Recto Hall, Faculty Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman.

I would like to begin with an argument which I deem as very urgent in making sense of this tenure battle in which I find myself in the middle of. "One cannot get an accurate picture of the educational institution without completely transforming the image it manages to project of itself through the logic of its operation or, more precisely, through the symbolic violence it commits insofar as it is able to impose the misrecognition of its true logic upon those who participate in it (Bourdieu, 1999:116)." We are those participants.

The school system is mainly that institution which is manifestly engaged in the distribution of knowledge. This function involves the sanctioning of technical competences required in the division of labor in society. The school system, therefore, plays a crucial role in the reproduction of competences which in turn are reproductive of the dominant social relations that make up hierarchies in society. By calling your attention to this undeniable fact, I am also urging you to recognize the entanglements between the school system and the reproduction of class divisions. This condition places the academe in the unsettling dynamics of the class war. This is the war between those who labor to reinforce the prevalent mode of living and relating to other people, and those who work in order to expose that another mode of living and relating is not only possible but is, in fact, necessary. I count myself as one among the many who believe that the latter is the way to go.

But of course, the dynamics of the class war is masked by the "magical action of consecration (Bourdieu, 99:116)." These are the mechanisms in and through which our actions and dispositions are measured against so-called legitimate standards crafted and implemented by those who have the recognized capacity in exercising such power. This situation in itself is not necessarily and essentially bad or questionable. It is rather an inevitable condition of any given field that is engined by an uneven distribution of power. No field is exempt from this condition on account of a larger system that is based on ownership and dispossession.

Tenure in the academic field is a product of the "authority of consecration (Bourdieu)." It is that process which establishes a boundary that separates those who are chosen by "great academic trials (Bourdieu)." In other words, it institutes an academic elite. I do not want to dwell on the fact that where academic requirements are concerned, my qualifications as a member of this institution by no means fall short. It must be noted, however, that a wager for an engaged pedagogy can combat the exclusionary tendencies of academic elitism. This is the reason why I find my department's non-recommendation of my tenure application questionable.

More appalling is the fact that in the beginning of this semester, I was verbally instructed not to meet my classes for reasons that have yet to be explained to me. As my students would know, I have been attending my classes as I have a contract until May 31 of this year. Pending my department's explanation for not recommending my tenure, which is to say that it has not exercised transparency and due process in its decision, my prospects for teaching in this University after doing so for nearly a decade, remains uncertain.

Security of tenure is not an issue that is unique to my experience. It is definitely an issue that often collides with the most precious value of academic freedom. In making a public statement about my case, I do not intend to target or to assault anyone who had a hand in deciding on the non-recommendation of my application for tenure. In demanding transparency and due process, I seek to understand the circumstances that have brought me in this exhausting condition of uncertainty. I believe this to be very unnecessary in an academic community that values the egalitarian exchange of ideas.

I also want to use this occasion to thank the members of the academic community who have expressed their concern and unwavering support. I am certain that they do so because the stakes in this issue go beyond personal gains. I am thankful that despite this very exhausting and painful process, we are given this chance to reflect upon academic practices and their implications. We reflect not only for the lives of the members of the academic community, but more importantly for what our lives may mean for the larger society.

Many have asked me whether I would still be willing to teach in my department in case of a reversal of its non-recommendation. "Of course" has almost always been my response, for the simple reason that a department or any institution is everybody's and nobody's. Some voices in any given field may be more dominant, creating what Bourdieu rightfully calls as the dominators in the field. But that does not warrant an attempt to exclude the voices that do not carry the same tune. The dominated may be marginalized in many ways, but by no means can practices of forced extinction be justified. But even more than that, I belong to the discipline of Sociology, a discipline that continues to capture minds, young and old, because it invariably seeks to understand. And anyone who seeks to understand would be open to continued engagement. I am glad that certain members of the tenured faculty in the department share this view.

Do my comrades from CONTEND feel revulsion over this issue? Yes, simply because the most liberal of sensibilities have been offended. But have we gained personal enemies over this issue? The answer is resounding No. We cannot afford personal enemies for we already have too powerful class enemies to contend with.

And lastly, does this occasion mark a big day for me personally? No, I think it is just another day in the struggle. But I know fully well that we must give it the same degree of militancy, resolve and hopefulness. Just like those who have stood up against tyrants, those who have toppled down dictatorships and those who continue to form the ranks of a decades-old struggle for social revolution.

Reference:

Bourdieu, Pierre, (1999). The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Standford, California: Stanford University Press.

*Secretary-General, Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) and Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of the Philippines-Diliman

 

Sarah thanking faculty colleagues, staff and students
Dr. Noli Reyes of Inst of Math in solidarity
Kat Macapagal who wrote a brave and perceptive essay on Sarah Raymundo
pix/Preparing for lightning rally around Palma Hall
Prof. Omeng Rodriguez and Prof. Vlad Gonzales singing composition assailing pol rep in UP
           

 

SA AKADEMYA
ni Joi Barrios, CONTEND at BAYAN


Nagmumulto si Senador McCarthy.

Gumagala-gala ang kanyang espiritu

sa mga pasilyo ng akademya.



Nalalanghap ng lahat

ang masangsang na bulaklak

ng tsampaka,

Naririnig ang kalansing

ng tanikalang nagbibigay babala:

Manginig, manginig!

Damhin ang malamig

na simoy ng hangin

na bumubulong-bulong

ng pangamba sa diwa

ng mga guro.



Nagmumulto si Senador McCarthy

at nagwiwika:

May pulahan sa ating pagitan!

Ang pula ay kulay na mapanganib!

Naghahasik ito ng punla,

naghihikayat ng pagkilos at paglaban,

Nagbabandila ng katwiran.



Mga kapatid sa akademya,

ang natatakot sa pula,

ay taong kaawa-awa,

pagkat walang sariling pag-iisip,

pagkat sakmal ng multo ang dibdib.



Hayaan na nating malibing sa kanyang hukay

si Senador McCarthy.

Ating angkinin ang kulay na pula

bilang kulay ng duguang rosas

na mahalimuyak,

kulay ng kasiyahan at galak,

kulay ng pusong matapang,

at pusong matatag.
 

Prof. Vlad Gonzales reading Dr. Joi Barrios' poem Akademy
Young and passionate for the call for justice and tenure for Prof. Sarah Raymundo
     

 

Bakit isyung pulitikal ang di paggawad ng tenyur kay Prop. Sarah Raymundo* ng Departamento ng Sosyolohiya?
Pebrero 6, 2009

Pangalanan na ang di inilalantad ni Dr. Clemen Aquino, tagapangulo ng Sociology Department ng U.P.—politikal

na panunupil. Itinatago ni Dr. Aquino ang rason ng di pagbibigay ng tenure ng departamento sa balatkayo ng “proseso,” na ang proseso ay hindi pa nakukumpleto gayong ipinabatid na ni Dr. Aquino kay Prof. Sarah Raymundo ang desisyong ito ng departamento. Malinaw ang desisyon gayong di malinaw ang paliwanag.

Politikal na panunupil ito sa dalawang dahilan. Una, tinangka ni Dr. Aquino at ilang faculti ng Sociology Department na gamitin ang pagbibigay-suporta ni Prof. Raymundo sa press conference para mailitaw ang mga dinukot na estudyanteng sina Sherlyn Cadapan at Karen Empeño noong 2006 laban sa aplikasyon niya para sa tenure. Hindi kailanman ginamit ni Prof. Raymundo ang pangalan ng departamento sa pagtulong sa panawagang ilitaw ang dalawang nawawalang estudyante. Kinausap din si Prof. Raymundo mahigit isang taon matapos ang presscon upang usisain kung siya ba ang nagrecruit kay Karen Empeno sa aktibistang organisasyon nito at kung siya ba ay nagrerecruit ng mga estudyante niya sa progresibong kilusan. Maituturing bang inosente at nangangalap lamang ng datos ang ganitong linya ng pagtatanong? Karaniwan bang tinatanong ang mga ganitong tanong sa lahat ng miyembro ng kaguruan? O hindi nga ba dahil may nauna nang baluktot na paghusga sa pulitika ni Prof. Raymundo kaya siya naging bulnerable sa ganitong malisyosong imbestigasyon?

Sa unang botohan para sa tenure ni Prop. Raymundo noong unang bahagi ng 2008, hindi kinatigan ng mayorya ng tenured faculty ng departamento ang ganitong mga akusasyon, at inirekomenda nila ang tenure ni Prop. Raymundo. Ngunit bininbin ang pagsapinal sa desisyong ito.

Ikalawa, noong Oktubre 2008, muling pinatawag si Prof. Raymundo upang kausapin hinggil sa dipagbalik ng estudyanteng si Julian, na estudyante ni Prop. Raymundo sa isang kurso, mula sa isang di umano’y paglahok nito sa isang immersion. Gumawa na naman ng fantabulsong koneksyon si Dr. Aquino at ilang faculty ng departamento sa “pagkawala” ni Julian at si Prop. Raymundo ang tinuturo bilang promotor ng desisyon ng estudyante na di na bumalik sa unibersidad.

Walang katotohanan ni patunay hinggil sa pilit na ikinokonektang akusasyon kay Prof. Raymundo. Sa kabila nito, ito ang lumalabas na naging basehan ng pagpaling ng inisyal na suporta ng mayorya ng faculty ng departamento tungo sa di-pagrekomenda ng tenure kay Prof. Raymundo sa pagtatapos ng unang semestre. Dinagdag ito sa nauna na nilang mga bintang na may kinalaman sa estudyanteng si Karen Empeño. Ano ang pruwebang iniharap ni Dr. Aquino gayong mabibigat ang mga akusasyong di naman pormal na inihain kay Prof. Raymundo para makapagpaliwanag ng kanyang panig?

Dagdag pa, noon mismong Nobyembre 6, sinabihan ni Dr. Aquino si Prop. Raymundo na hindi muna pumunta sa kanyang klase sa susunod na araw hanggang siya ay abisuhan. Hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa binawi ang ganitong direktiba. Gayunpaman, patuloy na nagtuturo si Prop. Raymundo. Sa liham ni Aquino noong Nobyembre 20, 2008, “ang mabigyan ng kaukulang pagsasaalang alang ang kapakanan ng mga mag-aaral at ni Prop. Raymundo” ang dahilan kung bakit kagyat siyang kumunsulta sa Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs noong Nobyembre 7. Anong kapangyarihan ang mayroon ang isang Tagapangulo ng Departamento na hindi papasukin ang isang faculty sa kanyang mga klase nang walang legal na batayan? At ano ang nagawang kasalanan ni Prop. Raymundo na kailangang ikonsulta sa legal office ng unibersidad?

Nagkukubli si Dr. Aquino sa kanyang pormal na interpretasyon ng proseso kaya hindi nagpapaliwanag. Alam niya na sa karaniwang praktika sa unibersidad, ang rekomendasyon ng mga departamento kaugnay ng tenure ay sinasangayunan ng nakakataas na mga opisina kaugnay ng prinsipyo ng pagrespeto sa disciplinal autonomy. Kung gayon, ang desisyon ng departamento na di paggawad ng tenure kay Prop. Raymundo ay prosesong kumpleto na sa antas ng departamento. At ang kanyang pagpapaabot nito kay Prop. Raymundo ay bahagi ng proseso na ayaw niyang kumpletuhin sa pagbibigay ng dahilan ng desisyon. Nagkukubli naman ang ilang kasapi ng departamento sa umano’y progresibong politikal na track record kaya hindi lubos na maunawaan ng mga nakakaengkwentro sa kaso ni Prof. Raymundo na hindi akademiko at sa totoo ay politikal ang batayan para sa desisyong di pagkakaloob ng tenure sa kanya. Natupad ni Prof. Raymundo ang academic requirements para sa tenure, bakit hindi siya pinagkalooban nito?
 

 


Kinakailangang magpaliwanag si Dr. Aquino at ang ilang tenured fakulti ng departamento hinggil sa kanilang mga akusasyon at desisyon ng di paggawad ng tenure kay Prop. Raymundo. Huwag gamitin ang proseso at ang umano’y progresibong politikal track record para itago ang mga di napapatunayang akusasyon sa likod ng proseso. Ipagtanggol ang karapatan ng gurong may progresibong paniniwala. Panagutin si Dr. Aquino at ang departamento sa kanilang desisyon.

Pinagyaman ng mahabang kasaysayan ng progresibong kaisipan at pagkilos sa U.P. ang kalakarang transparency, accountability, due process, debate ng mga idea at ang pagtindig laban sa witch-hunting at red-baiting. Ipagtanggol ang mga kalakarang ito, lalo pa sa gitna ng umiigting na komersyalisasyon at politikal na panunupil sa kampus, sa sektor ng edukasyon, at sa bansa.

Itigil ang politik politikal al na panunupil sa k kampus! ampus!

Itigil ang witch-hunting at red-baiting!

Dr. . Clemen A Aquino quino quino, , tagapangulo ng Departamento ng Sosyolohiya, magpaliwanag k ka! a!
Sociology Department, uphold academic freedom!

Itigil ang politik politikal al na panunupil sa k kampus!

Katarungan atarungan at tenure para kay Prof Sarah R Raymundo!

Para sa karagdagang detalye, kasama ang pagpirma sa petition, tumungo sa http://tenureforsarahraymundo.blogspot.com/
.



*Pangkalahatang Kalihim ng Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-UP) Nationalism and Democracy

 

 

Download article in PDF format

 

Updates about Prof. Sarah Raymundo's campaign for justice and tenure are available online. Please visit Prof. Sarah Raymundo's campaign blog:  

 

http://tenureforsarahraymundo.blogspot.com

The following posts have been added:

■  
"Rally Against Political Repression in the Academe, February 6, 2009"

■   "Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang Forum / Statement by Sarah Raymundo"

■   "Loretta Capeheart of Northeastern Illinois University and Sarah Raymundo"

■   "Bakit Isyung Pulitikal ang Di Paggawad ng Tenyur kay Prop. Sarah Raymundo* ng Departamento ng Sosyolohiya?" ng CONTEND-UP

■   "Pulitikal na Represyon sa Nagbabagong Mukha ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas" by Rommel Rodriguez

■   "Shameless" by Ina Stuart Santiago

■   "Who's Afraid of Sarah Raymundo?" by Katrina Macapagal
 

           
=          
==          

 

Who’s Afraid of Sarah Raymundo

by Katrina Macapagal*
This article was published on January 15, 2009 in The Phillippine Collegian.

They say that this university is a free zone, a liberated space that promotes academic freedom, political tolerance, and liberal education, among other grand claims. Here in UP, students and teachers have nothing to fear--radical positions are welcome, democratic rights are respected, political persecution is a thing of the past.

But when the case of sociology Professor Sarah Raymundo came to fore amidst centennial festivities in the past months, the old myth surrounding the institution quickly unraveled.

In November, Sarah was told by the sociology department chair herself that the tenured professors from the same department have decided not to recommend her tenure. She was then instructed not to meet her classes until further notice. When Sarah asked for reasons behind such instructions, she was told that these cannot be disclosed. The last that was heard from the department chair, in a letter addressed to the dean of the College, is that the department is waiting for recommendations from the UP legal office, which means, perhaps, that a formal administrative case against Sarah is now in the works. Now, almost three months later, there is still no written explanation from those concerned, despite Sarah\'s formal inquiries.

What, then, is her crime? Sarah has satisfied the requirements for tenure: she holds a masters degree in sociology and boasts a number of academic publications. Still, the powers-that-be have refused to grant what is due to her, like members of a secret society who have sworn not to give her the key that unlocks the mystery.

The shroud of mystery surrounding Sarah\'s case is lifted upon further reading. Reason suggests that the only crime she is guilty of is that of putting theory into practice--she is being singled-out because of her progressive leanings and political affiliations, as she continues to serve as secretary general of the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy and is an active member of the All UP Academic Employees Union and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.

That such undemocratic actions were carried out by a department hosted by no less than the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy is all the more alarming. Not long ago, the chair of the same department pointed an accusing finger at Sarah for her alleged involvement in the disappearance of a former student-activist, an accusation that had absolutely no basis and was later disproved. Today, it appears that this issue is being resurrected by those who are working overtime to kick Sarah out of the academe—those who seem to be deathly afraid of the activist-professor whose advocacies and interests are different from their own political positions.

Because of her convictions, Sarah has become the easy target of the beast that hides behind the university\'s liberal posturing; narrow-minded conservatism has reared its ugly head in the midst of proclamations of one hundred years of service and excellence. Contrary to popular perception, what Sarah\'s case reveals is that UP is a site of fierce ideological struggle, where those who advocate radical convictions are isolated and marginalized, even terminated, for unjust reasons.

Yet, in such repressive conditions, Sarah remains unflinching and steadfast. Despite the verbal order earlier imposed, Sarah continues to attend her classes, and her students can attest that she is an excellent teacher who raises issues that invoke critical thinking and political inquiry. She remains active in her political organizations and continues to engage in various activities, from fora to mass demonstrations.

So who is afraid of Sarah Raymundo? Certainly not her current and former students, her colleagues in political organizations, or her fellow intellectuals, among others, who immediately expressed indignation and support upon learning about the issue.

At this point, the question posed above is easy enough to answer.

* The writer is an instructor at the Department of English and Comparative Literature and is a member of the All UP Academic Employees Union

 

Dr. Ramon Guillermo, President of Acad Union Diliman
Dr. Roland Tolentino, CONTEND Chai
           
           

 

Shameless

by Ina Stuart Santiago*

It’s a downright shame that on the year of the University of the Philippines’ Centennial, one that has been celebrated with much publicity and fanfare and cash, we hear many stories of how the university has turned on its own. Students have to deal with a higher tuition fee and the difficult process of qualifying for the STFAP (one full scholar? unacceptable!). Janitors like Mang Meliton are given P.92 centavos as retirement pay after 41 years of service. Where is the justice in that?

And then there’s the story of Prof. Sarah Raymundo - one that has done the rounds of blogs, has warranted statements from scholars and activists here and abroad, and has been the bane of the Department of Sociology’s existence since everything blew over. And rightfully so. Because what happened to Sarah can happen to anyone who plays by the rules, does more than what’s required, but who is still deemed unworthy of permanent status in the University. What has happened to her can and will happen again, in a University of the Philippines that allows its departments to unilaterally decide on the future of its faculty members, ignoring what it is they have contributed to the University. What has happened to Sarah will happen again, in a Department of Sociology that has yet to come clean about her case.

In the meantime, one can’t help but ask: what is it that’s more important than Sarah’s academic work (international conferences, published essays in books and refereed journals, extension work, a graduate degree) in a University that teaches us about the value of getting published and the need for continuous study? What is it that weighs heavier than teacher evaluations that prove how students learn from her, and would take her classes again and again?

The answer seems simple enough: it’s Sarah’s politics. That’s as much as she’s been told by her superiors in the department, and this is all that this can be about given how Sarah has met all requirements for tenure. This is about her involvement in issues within and beyond the academe, it’s because she has decided not to sit on a fence and watch the world collide. It’s because Sarah’s an activist, and not the kind that only panders to what is politically correct when it is popular (for that is really just an opportunist). Instead she involves herself in issues that are important because relevant, and for this she is being made to pay dearly. What is wrong with getting involved in the issue of the missing U.P. students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno? What is unacceptable about her volunteer work for the human rights organization Karapatan? Why must she be made to apologize for the kind of teaching she does - which the Department of Sociology has deemed wrong - because some of her students have become activists themselves?

Any person who has been a student would know that some teachers can change our lives. Any student who changes her ideological leanings may pinpoint one teacher who has made her re-think her beliefs, re-assess her practices, without realizing that in fact she is only reacting to her own history, her own class contradictions. If and when a student becomes an activist, no teacher can take credit for it. To do so would be egotistical, and that’s to imagine that all students enter the classroom tabula rasa.

And yet it seems that the Department of Sociology’s active imagination has created a picture of Sarah as someone who consciously and conscientiously works towards turning students into her clones. Something that is impossible to prove, and is really more a matter of the pot calling the kettle black: there are undoubtedly teachers who want to create little mini-mes who will repeat what they say as if they are gods, who will put them on a pedestal and pinpoint them as mentors, who will forever be unable to look them in the eye and presume equality. Only teachers who see this as the correct order of things, will imagine that Sarah is the same. Only the powerful administrators can use this to take away the house and home Sarah has known the University and the Department of Sociology to be, political and ideological disagreements notwithstanding.

Sarah is a leftist, and the last time I looked there was no need to apologize for being so. Not when the work one does, the essays one writes and gets published, the conferences one is invited to attend, the M.A. one gets, is a product as well of that activism. There is nothing extraneous to one’s ideology, yes? So why is Sarah being made to suffer for what she believes in? Given so many tenured faculty members who are at the other end of the ideological spectrum, what can this be but a witch hunt? An academic killing of the progressive faculty of the University?

This is so much bigger than Sarah of course, as in this country real killings and disappearances of activists continue to happen everyday. But what has happened to Sarah, in the context of the publicity that has surrounded U.P.’s Centennial Celebrations, is proof of what the University has become.

So I take it back. It is perfect that this happened to Sarah on the year of U.P.’s Centennial. It reveals to us all, alumni and students, faculty and employees, that the University's activist past is all lost glory, and is only celebrated when it is convenient and romantic. In truth, it is now anti-progressive and anti-activist, and it will endanger the life of its own, take away house and home, for reasons that are nothing but petty, everything and unacceptable. In many ways, this Centennial showed U.P. to be ultimately and unabashedly shameless.

 

 

*Ina Stuart Santiago is finishing her master’s at the Department of English, UP Diliman. She is a member of CONTEND

Prof. Roselle Pineda, emcee
Sounding the gong to mark the start of the LR
     
     
 
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