Archive | UP Los Baños

An Open Letter To The UPLB Office Of Student Affairs

June 10, 2013

From: Filipino Freethinkers-UPLB et al

To: Dr Leticia A. Afuang, Office of Student Affairs Director, UPLB

CC: Dr Rex Victor O. Cruz, Chancellor, UPLB

Good day,

It has come to our attention that your good office has once again distributed (or at least, caused to distribute) free bibles at the recent campus tour for UPLB freshmen. As far as we are aware, this has become a tradition for you, Dr Afuang, since you took charge as free bibles were given out too during last year’s freshman convocation. This was on top of blatantly preaching Christianity during this year and last’s leadership training seminar, which is required for all student organizations seeking university recognition to attend, among other breaches of secularism that have been reported to us.

This is completely unacceptable. Unless you still are not aware, the University of the Philippines is a secular institution. And this fact is explicitly defined in Sec 3 and Articles 177 and 452 of the UP Code, which we are sure you are well aware of.

For surety, we have included excerpts here:

  1. Sec 3. Purpose of the University.As the national university, a public and secular institution of higher learning , and a community of scholars dedicated to the search for truth and knowledge as well as development leaders, the University of the Philippines shall perform its unique and distinctive leadership in higher education and development.

  2. Art 177. Members of the teaching staff enjoy academic freedom; Provided, however, That no instructor in the University System shall inculcate sectarian tenets in any of the teachings, nor attempt either directly or indirectly, under the penalty of dismissal by the Board of Regents, to influence students or attendants at the University System for or against any particular church or religious sect or political party.

  3. Art 452. Any priest, preacher, or minister of the gospel of any religious denomination may speak before student groups or organizations of the University; Provided, That in every case the written permission of the President/Chancellor shall have been previously secured; and Provided, further, That speakers do not discuss questions which might provoke dissension in the University.

While you may argue that the bibles were donations or that receiving them was voluntary anyway, these are but poor excuses. Secularism means fair treatment and privilege to all religions, or to none at all. It’s either you give out free scriptures of all religions or you don’t give any. If this isn’t clear enough, let us stress that there is simply no place for religious instruction and proselytizing within the university, academic freedom notwithstanding.

The university should be a place for students to explore and criticize new ideas and long-held beliefs. It is no place for certain churches to exploit this opportunity to increase membership in the pretense of saving souls or “making disciples.” Let us let students find their own way to faith or disbelief. This is what academic freedom means.

In light of this, we petition the following:

  1. That Dr. Afuang issue a public apology for all accounts of breaches in secularism and violations of the UP Code;
  2. That the UPLB administration conduct an investigation regarding the events cited and take disciplinary measures if found necessary;
  3. That the Chancellor issue a memorandum reminding all staff and faculty of these portions of the UP Code, and prohibiting any university-sanctioned event and academic class to include religious elements that may, directly or indirectly, be meant to proselytize or otherwise influence students’ religious views.

[Signed]

Rafael Navarro

President

Filipino Freethinkers-UPLB

[Signed]

Ma. Patricia San Jose

Vice President

Filipino Freethinkers-UPLB

[Attached signatures of petitioners]

—-

Yesterday’s events were not the only breaches of secularism that have occured inside the university, and by the looks of it will most probably not be the last. There are many more incidents involving many more UPLB instructors. Let us make this petition a reminder that state universities are best kept secular. Surely, UPLB has got more ways to acquaint its freshmen than lambasting that it endorses particular churches, right?

Note: A similar incident also happened last year under the auspices of Dr Afuang. Several students have testified to us that it is usual for Dr. Afuang to preach Christianity in her classes, no matter how unrelated it is to the subject matter. A followup article is scheduled to be posted documenting these first-hand accounts.

Update: A pastor from Victory Christian Fellowship UPLB has spoken on the matter in defense of Dr. Afuang, the Office of Student Affairs and the Bible-giving brouhaha.

Editors note: two images concerning Victory Christian Fellowship have been removed from this article since publishing. Those two photos are not relevant to the secularism violation of the Office of Student Affairs (in UPLB).

Posted in Religion, Secularism, UP Los Baños27 Comments

Visit FF-UPLB’s Sottocopy Booth and Get Your Stuff Sottocopied!

After last last week’s success, the Filipino Freethinkers’ University of the Philippines-Los Banos chapter another awesome activity coming up!

This week, from September 18 (Tuesday) to 21 (Friday), they’re going to provide free Sottocopy services to students.

In addition to that, FF-UPLB members are going to roam around campus selling brownies and giving away free condoms!

The chapter aims to bring more attention to Sotto’s plagiarism and his dilatory attempts against the passing of the Reproductive Health Bill. Furthermore, they wish to dispel the stigma around possessing condoms and other contraceptives, and set aflame student interest in the RH Bill in general.

The chapter is looking for more sponsors, and interested parties may contact them through [email protected]

Also this week, FF-UPLB is going to have a meetup. We invite all of you to attend and discuss with us. As always, there is no required political ideology, religion, IQ level, age, or even university (i.e. by all means, you may freely attend even if you are not a UPLB student). Please see the event page at Facebook for more details.

Posted in Advocacy, FF Chapters, RH Bill, UP Los Baños0 Comments

Filipino Freethinkers-University of the Philippines Los Baños Forum

What: An Introduction to Freethinking
Where: NCAS Auditorium, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna
When: September 4 (Tuesday), 1 – 4 PM


Against all odds, Filipino Freethinkers-University of the Philippines Los Baños (FF-UPLB) has been recognized by the Office of Student Affairs-Student Organizations and Activities Division for this year!

The only organization in campus catering to atheists, agnostics, deists and progressive theists, FF-UPLB’s founding has set the grounds for the promotion of science, reason and secularism within the community, aside from being a safe haven for heathen students and teachers.

FF-UPLB is holding its first event: An Introduction to Freethinking. We’ll be discussing three topics:

  • Science and Freethinking, where we will be differentiating science from pseudoscience, and stressing the need for evidence-based  logical inquiry on discussions and decision making;
  • Secularism and Freethinking, where Filipino Freethinkers President Red Tani will discuss what secularism is, and why is it an indispensable element of governance; and
  • Non-Belief and Freethinking, where Filipino Freethinkers Affiliations Director Garrick Bercero will be relating his own experiences and journey to disbelief, while giving light on the general misconceptions about non-believers and atheism.

The event is free of charge, and everyone is welcome to attend. There is no required political ideology, philosophy, religion or IQ level.

The event is on September 4 (Tuesday), and runs from 1 – 4 PM. The Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society, BUKLOD UPLB, Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP, and UP Socius are our very generous sponsors.

We’ll be glad to have you there.

RSVP on Facebook.

Posted in Meetup, UP Los Baños1 Comment

Filipino Freethinkers-UPLB First General Assembly

 

Location: Student Union Building, Mangga Rd, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna (Google maps)

Date: Thursday, June 14, 2012

Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm

RSVP on Facebook

Vast tracts of farmland. A university with its own forest reserve with endless fish pens on the side.

The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) does seem an unlikely place to be a haven for several dozens of atheists, agnostics, progressive believers etc. In fact, I thought there would never be any of them in this still very Catholic town turned agriculture research center.

But I was wrong. It’s been half a year already since the first Filipino Freethinkers (FF) meetup in UPLB last mid-December 2011. And since then, we’ve been meeting almost twice a week, and have successfully formed an informal group of devoted secularists, with members from both the academe and the student body.

Arguably being among the most active FF student chapters, for the last 6 months:

    1. we have held a total of 9 meetups, where we’ve intellectually discussed a wide range of topics, from the truth behind conspiracy theories to the viability of interfaith relationships;
    2. we have started a documentary on the spread of pseudoscience within the university;1
    3. we attended a freethought convention, where we met several fellow freethinkers;
    4. we toured our Metro Manila friends around the campus, and went to places that even we haven’t gone to before;
    5. we even held picnics on the campus grounds, and had fun along with it;
    6. and, most importantly, we have built a safe space within the university and its immediate vicinity, where we have actively promoted tolerance and made friendships, regardless of our own personal political ideologies, religious beliefs or lack thereof.

We have so much more to do now that the semester is starting again, and we would love to let you be a part of it.

If you adhere to the ideals of freethought, the separation of church and state, and religious tolerance—or, as we like to put it, reason, science and secularism—you are very much welcome to attend FF-UPLB’s First General Assembly, and be among our charter members.

Don’t worry, membership is free2—I know, that’s how desperate we are to get you—and it’s open to practically anyone, irreligious or not. And what’s best is we don’t haze people! Hooray.

It’s going to be held inside the Student Union Building, UPLB, Los Baños, Laguna on June 14, 2012 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. We shouldn’t be too hard to spot. Just look for a bunch of sexy3 and intelligent people hanging around the first floor of the building. Otherwise, simply look for the FF logo.

See the event page or checkout our Facebook group for more information. Alternatively, you can contact me at 09153707740, or e-mail us at [email protected].

We would love to hear from you.

Notes:

  1. As much as I would like to say more, I cannot for I fear that it would preempt the release of the said documentary. So just stay curious.
  2. Terms and conditions apply. (I’m kidding.)
  3. Seriously.

Posted in Announcements, Meetup, Organization, UP Los Baños1 Comment


Facebook.com/Freethinkers