SARAH RAYMUNDO is an Assistant Professor from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman's Department of Sociology, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. She's been teaching in UP for ten years. She has met, and even exceeded, the minimum requirements for tenure. Why then, after a year since she applied for tenure, is Prof. Raymundo being denied permanent status in the university?

Sarah is the Secretary-General of the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND), Treasurer of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) National Council, and an active member of the All UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU).

Monday, November 23, 2009

RUUP Faculty Alliance on Chancellor Cao's Flawed Decision

Read/download the RUUP Faculty statement in PDF: FINAL RUUP OMNIBUS STATEMENT

Chancellor Cao’s Decision, Flawed and Unjust!

Tenure for Prof. Sarah Raymundo NOW!

November 24, 2009

While the University of the Philippines has clear rules on faculty tenure process as contained in the Faculty Manual, there are cases when qualified untenured faculty are not recommended for tenure. Various reasons, ranging from collegiality, alleged dishonesty and lack of integrity are cited as justifications for the denial of tenure. In some cases, departmental autonomy is used to justify the lack of transparency in the decision-making process. Although appeals may be submitted, there are no clear rules on how long the decision-making process of administrators deciding on the appeal may last. As such, untenured faculty members have no job security, have limited resources, and are vulnerable to being deprived of their rights to due process, transparency in decision-making, and the swift resolution of appeals.

This vulnerability of untenured UP faculty to arbitrary and unfair decisions on tenure application and appeal is the rationale behind the formation of the alliance Rights of Untenured UP Faculty (R.U.U.P. Faculty). The denial of Prof. Sarah Raymundo’s application for tenure by the Department of Sociology and the ruling of Chancellor Cao against her appeal, among other cases, illustrate the need to strengthen unity among untenured colleagues in the University.

On October 28, 2009 UP Diliman Chancellor Sergio Cao ruled against Sociology Prof. Sarah Raymundo’s appeal for tenure. This decision, which came after almost a year since Prof. Raymundo first appealed to his office in November 2008, is flawed and unjust in claiming that Prof. Raymundo is not academically qualified for tenure and that her case was handled judiciously by the Department of Sociology. The chancellor’s decision reveals that Prof. Raymundo’s denial of tenure is political harassment in the guise of academic and bureaucratic procedure.

We raise the following major points against Chancellor Cao’s decision to deny Prof. Raymundo’s tenure:

1. On Prof. Raymundo’s academic requirements for tenure: The Sociology Department and the College Executive Board of the College of Social Sciences never, at any instance, questioned Prof. Raymundo’s academic excellence in the longstanding issue of her tenure appeal. Prof. Raymundo has fully satisfied the academic requirements for tenure in the Sociology Department, as stated in the justification for tenure signed by the tenured faculty of the Sociology Department in April 2008 which is annexed in Chancellor Cao’s memo containing his decision. The justification signed by the majority of the tenured faculty of the department acknowledges Prof. Raymundo’s "excellent quality of mind," "expansive intellectual interest," "competence in current and emerging academic discourses (as) reflected in her teaching" and "capability to engage in sustained scholarship."

Moreover, it is absolutely unfair to compare Prof. Raymundo’s academic accomplishments to a College of Science (CS) Professor’s academic record. Chancellor Cao denied Prof. Raymundo’s tenure by indicating that she does not have a PhD and has less publications compared to a CS professor who was also appealing for tenure. However, the chancellor should know that this false equivocation cannot be used in this case, considering that majority of the academic units in UP base their tenure decisions on the university’s general academic tenure requirements. In instances when colleges and departments actually adopt requirements more stringent that those set by the university, untenured faculty members are made aware of these upon hiring—which is certainly not the case in the Sociology Department. Prof. Raymundo has fully satisfied the existing academic requirements for tenure implemented in her own department and college, a fact that was affirmed and was never questioned by the tenured professors of the Sociology Department. It is therefore surprising and puzzling why Chancellor Cao suddenly raised and used the academic basis in his decision, when Prof. Raymundo’s academic excellence was never the crux of the matter to begin with.

2. On the issue of Prof. Raymundo’s involvement in relation to the Karen Empeno case as evidence of lack of professional ethics: The tenured faculty of the Sociology Department never questioned the fact that Prof. Raymundo had satisfied the minimum requirements for tenure: at least a masteral degree, teaching and publications record. Even Prof. Clemen Aquino, then the chairperson of the department, recognized Prof. Raymundo’s teaching and publication accomplishments in her April 18, 2009 letter attached to Prof. Raymundo’s basic papers.[1] It should be clarified that the issue raised against Prof. Raymundo was in relation to her ethical conduct and professionalism. The minority and Prof. Aquino based their non-recommendation of tenure on the provision that "academic grounds include professional ethics, intellectual honesty, and other values central to academic life" (contained in the document “Shaping Our Institutional Future: A Statement on Faculty Tenure, Rank, and Promotion”; OVPAA, 2004, page 12).

In the 13-page October 17, 2008 minority report to Vice Chancellor Lorna Paredes by Profs. Marcia Fernandez, Clarissa Rubio and Marie Arguillas, Prof. Raymundo is accused of “dishonesty” and breaching “professional ethics” in relation to the issue of Karen Empeno, a Sociology student who has been missing since 2006, believed to have been abducted by the military. These issues against Prof. Raymundo remained "departmental secrets" until Chancellor Cao attached to his memo this minority report. There was no real, formal and written correspondence addressed to Prof. Raymundo, and thus, she was never given the formal chance to defend herself.

The minority report states that Prof. Raymundo gave inconsistent statements regarding her involvement in a press conference on human rights violations held on June 30, 2009. Prof. Raymundo is further accused of breaching professional ethics when she did not officially inform the Sociology Department chairperson about the said press conference. Furthermore, the minority report insists that Prof. Raymundo did not uphold the truth by not clarifying that Karen Empeno had an AWOL status at the time of her abduction during a University Council (UC) meeting, where the UC agreed on a position that affirmed Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan as UP students.

We find it disturbing that Prof. Aquino raised the issue of Karen Empeno’s AWOL status as basis for not recommending Prof. Raymundo’s tenure application in 2008, considering that as early as 2006, the UC meeting’s presiding officer Chancellor Cao already affirmed Karen’s status as a student of the university, despite her AWOL status. This UC position was reaffirmed in the statement released by the UC concerning the disappearance on July 12, 2006. Furthermore, we do not see how Prof. Raymundo’s presence or involvement in a press conference on human rights violations became proof of dishonesty or breach of professional ethics.

After 16 long months since Prof. Raymundo’s recommendation for tenure was withdrawn, the Fernandez-Rubio-Arguillas minority report finally confirms that Prof. Raymundo is being denied tenure based entirely on her progressive positions, not on academic merits. The serious allegations against Prof. Raymundo in the minority report should have been the matter addressed by Chancellor Cao. By turning Prof. Raymundo’s case into a matter of academic requirements, Chancellor Cao skirts the real issue of this tenure struggle—that Prof. Raymundo’s denial of tenure is a case of political persecution.

3. On the so-called “2/3 rule” for tenure in the Sociology Department: The Sociology Department, under the leadership of former chairperson Dr. Clemen Aquino and current chairperson Prof. Randy David, was inconsistent in invoking this so-called 2/3 rule for tenure. This rule was never raised during any of the tenured faculty and College Executive Board voting, nor was this rule raised in previous letters from the Sociology chairpersons to the chancellor.

The 2/3 rule was only invoked by Sociology Department chairperson Prof. Randy David in a meeting on June 16, 2009 with Chancellor Cao and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lorna Paredes, in what seemed to be a last-minute idea to deny Prof. Raymundo’s tenure. Prof. David insisted that the 2/3 rule be upheld in the second voting by the Sociology Department’s tenured faculty on Prof. Raymundo’s case, resulting in votes of 5 for, 4 against, 1 abstain, and 1 waiver of tenure. However, it is worth noting that the so-called 2/3 rule was not upheld in the first voting of the tenured faculty which resulted in Prof. Raymundo’s favor, with votes of 7 for, 3 against.

In his decision denying Prof. Raymundo’s tenure appeal, Chancellor Cao upheld this questionable 2/3 rule without justification, even when this was one of the issues raised by Prof. Raymundo in her letter of appeal. Chancellor Cao falsely assumed that this 2/3 rule was in fact a valid premise for the Sociology department’s non-recommendation of Prof. Raymundo’s tenure.

4. On the lack of due process and the Sociology department’s “minority report”: Chancellor Cao maintained that the Sociology department “sufficiently explained” the non-recommendation of Prof. Raymundo’s tenure. While it is true that a number of meetings with Prof. Raymundo were held by tenured faculty members (June 2008 with Prof Aquino, end of July 2008 with some faculty members, March 2009 with tenured faculty members) regarding the Karen Empeno case, these were merely clarificatory meetings for Prof. Raymundo. She was never given a copy of the 13-page minority report, dated October 17, 2008, signed by Profs. Fernandez, Rubio, and Arguillas. The significance of the minority report was never explained to Prof. Raymundo. This was not raised in her meeting with Prof. Aquino in November 6, 2008 when the latter informed Prof. Raymundo of the tenured faculty’s decision to withdraw her tenure recommendation. When Prof. Raymundo asked for the grounds of this decision, she was told by the chair that the latter was bound by the tenured faculty’s wish that Prof. Raymundo merely be informed of the decision.

It is clear that Chancellor Cao did not take into account Prof. Raymundo’s repeated appeals that the reasons behind the Sociology Department’s decision be made known to her. As early as November 20, 2008, Prof. Raymundo had already written to the chancellor, expressing that she had not been informed of the reasons for the Sociology department’s decision. On June 24, 2009, the All UP Academic Employees Union-Diliman Chapter also sent a letter to the chancellor concerning the Sociology Department’s lack of transparency in Prof. Raymundo’s tenure application, which was not replied to by the chancellor. Prof. Raymundo was never able to defend herself in writing nor had the chance to consult with a lawyer regarding the allegations raised against her, which points to the obvious lack of due process in the Sociology Department’s handling of Prof. Raymundo’s tenure application.

Chancellor Cao himself should be made to answer for his long period of inaction regarding Prof. Raymundo’s tenure. Although Prof. Raymundo brought the matter to his office in a letter in October 2008, the Chancellor never answered Prof. Raymundo, either in writing or through other means of communication. The chancellor only initiated actions in February 2009, after receiving letters supporting Prof. Raymundo’s appeal, almost four months after Prof. Raymundo’s letter. Such inaction is a direct violation of Section 5 of the Code of Ethics for Government Officials, which stipulates that public officials should respond to official letters within 15 working days from the receipt.

5. On the chancellor’s selective use of arguments: Given the numerous documents and letters submitted to the chancellor related to Prof. Raymundo’s tenure case, Chancellor Cao was not able to take into account the relevant documents that should have been given due attention. A case in point is the non-citation of Prof. Walden Bello’s letter of support affirming Prof. Raymundo’s academic excellence. In this letter, Bello also said that the allegations against Prof. Raymundo’s ethical positions cannot be used to deny her tenure and should instead be addressed in a venue separate from the tenure vote. Another glaring flaw in Chancellor Cao’s selection of arguments is his misuse of a paragraph from Prof. Laura Samson’s letter (November 3, 2008), which he cited to highlight dissent within the department, without considering Prof. Samson’s concluding statement that actually supported Prof. Raymundo’s appeal for tenure.

Chancellor Cao’s skewed, arbitrary, and unjust decision-making which is tantamount to abuse of authority has no place in a university that stands for academic freedom and service to the people. The R.U.UP calls for the immediate reversal of Chancellor Cao’s decision to deny Prof. Sarah Raymundo’s tenure.




We urge you to sign the online petition in support of Prof. Raymundo’s continuing campaign for justice and tenure.

Rights of Untenured U.P. Faculty (R.U.U.P. Faculty Alliance)

All U.P. Academic Employees Union | All U.P. Workers Union | CONTEND-U.P. | Concerned Faculty Members, Administrative Staff, REPS, Students and Individuals

[1]Kinikilala ko po ang akademikong nagawa ni Prop. Raymundo sa larangan ng pagtuturo at publikasyon. Kahanga-hanga ang kanyang sigasig na makapag-ambag sa pagpapayaman ng disiplina ng sosyolohiya at magamit ito tungo sa ikauunlad ng ating lipunan”

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