Tag Archive | "University of Santo Tomas"

Your Education Today Has Been Cancelled

It is the function of a good university to turn out an educated and informed citizenry, trained in the skills of critical thought necessary in building and growing an electoral democracy such as ours. This is why it is with gladness that I would like to invite students of the University of Santo Tomas to attend the forum whose details appear below, wherein upcoming national Senatorial candidates have been invited to a public debate on the vital issues of health, population and development.

I am particularly heartened at the courage and forward thinking of the student officers that took the initiative to organize the forum, and the school administration that must have approved it, which as we know has a history of silencing any open discussion on national reproductive health issues unless it is in line with strict Catholic Church doctrine. Now that we have an RH Law, I am glad that the UST school admin decided to lead its students by example on how to work with national government towards the greater good. It is only fitting that a school such as UST, with its prominent medical education program, should take the lead on learning the stand of potential lawmakers on health issues.

…Wait, WHAT? The school administration had it canceled? Because ProLIFE Philippines, a group that has no problem having a punchdrunk thug like Lito David running for them, complained that Risa Hontiveros, a proRH advocate would be going?

Well, God forbid we should have an open intellectual discussion in the middle of a university! My parents went to UST. They met there. They used to be proud of it. And I think the students there who fight for their right to be informed should be proud of themselves as individuals. I’m aware that as a privately run institution those in charge of it can stuff their student’s heads with whatever they want. As generally conceived, however, a school, especially a university, is supposed to be a place for the mind’s liberation, not its indoctrination. Until those in charge of UST can remember that, those university leaders have only themselves to blame for outsiders like myself thinking of their school as a shitty pseudouniversity run by petty, small minded cowards.

Invitation to #YouthVote 2013

A few months away from the national elections, the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines and the Forum for FP and Development invite you to the first of a series of forums for national and local candidates for 2013 starting with the First Senatorial Forum on Health, Population and Development, January 11, 12nn-2pm at UST College of Medicine Auditorium.

Mainstreaming youth issues, sentiments and policy recommendations for the 2013 elections, the youth leaders spearheading this movement nationwide would like to champion responsible voting, challenge traditional politics and make politics work for the youth and the Filipino people as a whole.

Confirmed guests in the forum are: Ms. Risa Hontiveros, Ms. Grace Poe Llamanzares, Mr. Richard Gordon, Ms. Jamby Madrigal and Rep. Sonny Angara. The event will also be inter-active and on live stream in Bicol University and University of the Philippines Cebu powered by SMART


Now Trending: #YOUTHVOTE2013

1st Senatorial Debates on Health, Population and Development

January 11, 2013

12:00nn – 2:00pm

College of Medicine Auditorium, University of Santo Tomas

Image from varsitarian.net

Posted in Advocacy, Personal, Religion, RH Bill, Secularism, SocietyComments (2)

The Varsitarian Lemon Pity Party

The Varsitarian, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, got a lot of flack a couple of months ago for an editorial, entitled “RH bill, Ateneo, and La Salle: Of lemons and cowards,” ranting at fellow Catholic universities for not being authentically Catholic because they employ “lemons and cowards.” This was in reference to these schools’ professors who came out in support of the Reproductive Health Bill, which the Catholic Church leadership vehemently opposes. The editorial was so vitriolic that the faculty adviser of the paper publicly apologized for it, calling it “unchristian.” UST itself denied that it supported the caustic editorial of The Varsitarian.

As The Varsitarian brags in a followup editorial, “Calling a spade a spade, a lemon a lemon,” their previous piece garnered almost 300,000 views, supposedly “shaming” the readership of national news media. They even take a potshot at the claims of the mainstream media having a “national” reach without objective statistics to support this assertion. This plea for evidence is quite incongruous given the Varsitarian’s general attitude toward scientific and logical reasoning, which will be clear shortly.

The Varsitarian fails to account for the proportion of those 300,000 views that were simply from people sharing it with others because they found it hilarious and intellectually bankrupt. If the paper did account for it, they probably wouldn’t go about boasting of thousands of chortling readers. It also, more critically, fails to mention their readership outside lemon, part 1 and whether this was even comparable to the consistent audience of national media. Given that, it is not likely that any of the media outlets that “assaulted a hapless campus paper and accused it of bad journalism” are spending any sleepless nights from a Varsitarian nightmare.

The Varsitarian doubles down in lemon, part 2. Instead of taking criticism in stride, it lashes out at the media that reported on the scathing commentaries against it. In typical anti-RH (and anti-science) behavior, it insinuates (without a shred of evidence) a vast conspiracy, with the media supposedly carrying out “a vicious campaign against the Catholic Church.” (If this were true, it would have come up in our semimonthly meetings to plot the downfall of the Catholic Church.)

The persecution complex of The Varsitarian is at its height as it compares itself with two Christian martyrs, Lorenzo Ruiz and Saint Stephen. It even emphasizes that Stephen was stoned to death. The paper apparently sees what it does as a service to truth “with the purity of searing idealism.” In full self-aggrandizement, The Varsitarian claims that it would “die a thousand deaths” for its faith, even though, unlike those actually mired in religious violence, it has never faced the threat of dying even once. By calling back the imagery of men who were murdered, The Varsitarian likens its role as an Internet punchline to out and out martyrdom. It would behoove the Varsitarian to know that some people actually die, as in cease to have a functioning brain, because of the denial of reproductive health care. But, let’s not have facts get in the way of delusions of grandeur.

To keep its “idealism” in check and prevent it from being “blind,” The Varsitarian says that it seeks guidance from the Catholic Church. Then, what keeps their obedience to the Church from being blind and sycophantic? I suppose they wouldn’t consider that as a bad thing.

When one is trapped in an echo chamber as large and labyrinthian as Catholic theology, it’s easy to talk out of one’s ass. “The Varsitarian upholds the natural law even without recourse to Catholic teachings because the natural law covers everyone, including non-Christians,” says the paper. Of course, what the Varsitarian means by “natural law” is the specific ethical system ingrained in the Catholic faith. To support their claim that natural law applies to and must be believed by everyone, the paper even quotes the system’s major architect and the namesake of the school, Thomas Aquinas. So, the Varsitarian claims to defend a Catholic teaching (anti-contraception) by upholding Catholic teaching (natural law) “without recourse to Catholic teachings.”

In the end, The Varsitarian does admit that its words were indeed unchristian. And yet, it remains sanctimonious enough to call out AdMU and DLSU professors for not being true Catholics. The paper claims that the moral imperative for denunciation was so strong that it justified lemon, part 1, thereby flouting Christian virtue with the bravery of an anonymous editorial. So strong was the necessity that The Varsitarian closes lemon, part 2 with a quotation from Mark, that those who “scandalize” believers (such as the “faculty members and administrators” of their target schools) are better off to have a millstone tied to their necks and thrown into the sea to drown.

Perhaps The Varsitarian is right, after all. Maybe only people who are as hateful and uncharitable as its editorial team should have the right to call themselves Catholic.

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (4)