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).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The case of Sarah Raymundo, in this time of insanity

by Krissy Conti

June 16, 2010

Originally posted here:

Dear UP Law students,

May I refer you to recent developments in the tenureship case of Sociology Professor Sarah Raymundo, which could soon make its way into regular courts if the BOR decision on January 29 is unfavorable. This is a peculiar instance where departmental autonomy is pitted against parochial politics, in the context of UP's tenureship rules.

Ma'am Sarah has a brilliant academic record, which well complied with the requirements of tenureship. But she allegedly has a record of "dishonesty" in dealings outside of the classroom, in relation to the issue of Karen Empeno's enforced disappearance.

She was denied tenure by the Sociology department despite winning in two votes: in the first round 7-3 and in the second 5-4-1(abstain). The first vote is a clear majority, but was reconsidered upon appeal by the minority. The second vote was held binding, and was basis for the denial because it did not comply with the "2/3 majority" rule (something belatedly laid out by the department chair).

As it appears, the decision to deny her tenure (and hence, employment) was anchored on the discretion of the Sociology faculty. Chancellor Cao and President Roman both denied her appeals to reconsider.

Academic tenure and freedom are two sides of the same coin. In Constitutional Law II we laid out that academic tenure protects academic freedom by ensuring that teachers can be fired only for causes such as gross professional incompetence, substantial and manifest neglect of duty, behavior that evokes condemnation from the academic community itself, and personal conduct which substantially impairs the individual's fulfillment of institutional responsibilities.

Ma'am Sarah's alleged dishonesty arose during one or two of the press conferences after Karen Empeno's disappearance. I myself am uncertain about the exact nature of her transgression, but in a manner of saying, she was supposedly guilty of putting Karen, a UP student, in danger (or at least, encouraging Karen's life-changing decisions).

Karen and I were friends and batchmates. We worked on our theses at roughly the same time, and sometimes shared notes, resources, insights. We both believed in putting our theoretical lessons to actual practice (as Karen put it in sociology terms, praxis).

We sought the best advisers, even outside of our departments and the university. I am not thoroughly familiar with how Karen’s thesis worked out because we lost contact, but I see no strangeness if she turned to Ma’am Sarah for advice. Ma’am Sarah is friend to anybody who can argue with her for at least five minutes.

Ma’am Sarah is one of the most sought-after and most-admired professors in UP. In this RGEP-era, her subjects are bestsellers (ironically, she was anti-RGEP). She appealed to activists and conservatives, non-conformists and traditionalist, free thinkers and rote learners alike. I hope those of us who may have been her students would personally attest to that.

I hope you can squeeze in the time to read the materials on Ma’am Sarah’s case and perhaps sign the petition at

Thank you, especially for sharing in the burden. Wouldn’t you also find it hard to remain sane in a world where we UP law students are pushed to perfection, while UP lets go of brilliant professors, journalists are murdered, Gloria is running for congressman, and Karen is still missing --

Krissy Conti

No comments: