INACTION: Never an Option!
The issue of fraternity-related violence and its prevalence in the university is an old and continuing one. The root cause is complex but the effect of such –violence- is simple and crude. It requires us to understand a subculture that presents itself as strong and relevant on the outside but dirty and delusional on the inside. Supposedly intelligent people participate in an activity that is selfish and devoid of any bit of wisdom. Frat-related violence is wrong and illegal in all levels.
As narrated in the Statement of Facts released by the University Student Council, cars were smashed, property stolen and people were physically hurt. In the March 15 incident, the windshield of a car belonging to a resident of the Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity was broken. The latter two events which occurred last March 21 and 26 involved residents of the Sigma Rho Fraternity whose lives were put in danger and their property damaged. The facts can be seen in the police reports filed with the UP Diliman Police. To be clear, the fraternity members involved were victims in the incidents that took place. It is not useful to accuse them or their fraternities of anything when the facts are not yet clear. There is also talk that other fraternities are involved but it is also not helpful to do guesswork. What is clear though is that both the police report and the circumstances reveal that the incidents are fraternity-related. It is old news but it remains pressing. We must start doing something.
UP Alyansa calls for accountability, security, and a change of mindset. We call on the perpetrators to man up and take responsibility. Repair the damage and accept the consequences of your actions. To the victims, tell us your story. Don’t hide information so that you can use it to exact revenge and get a point up in the scorecard. What you call a private little conflict is not so little and no longer private. All of us are affected. We challenge the fraternities, if they are truly committed to peace, to publicly condemn acts of violence of their brothers. We call for a condemnation that does not come only in the form of press release but is demonstrated by non-participation in any form of violence.
Then again, we are tired of wishful thinking. So, we also call on the university administration, specifically the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the officials in charge of campus security to enforce the rules. Investigate thoroughly and follow through. Surely, we have the resources and political will to do that. A truce is acceptable for immediate peace but not as a long-term solution. We have seen time and again that a truce can easily be violated and it does not prevent further acts of violence. We are way past the high time to address the issue but better late than never.
We also recognize that the present rules need to be updated. We must provide more remedies to do away with private agreements that belittle the public interest in acts of violence in the university. Thus, UP Alyansa is asking the administration to give us the chance to review the rules and revise it to suit present conditions. Before we even look forward, we must let the consequences of past and present actions take its course. Let us be accountable as students and as administrators.
Next, we also call on the appropriate administrative offices to treat fraternity-related violence seriously. We need to scale up security inside the campus and refine the protocol. As for the student body, it is best that we remain vigilant. We are witnesses to the violence. We have a duty to protect ourselves, our fellow Iskolars para sa Bayan and the institution that we are part of. We must help by reporting and providing information when we have it. We also urge all student councils, alliances, organizations, and house councils to join the initiatives of Student Led Anti- Frat Related Violence Watch (SAWA).
Lastly, UP Alyansa is one in the call for the fraternities to reexamine their role in the university. We recognize the countless nation-building efforts and philanthropic works of fraternities, but given the current context, these efforts are becoming mere shadows of high profile cases of fraternity-related violence on campus. We also call on the alumni to help the fraternities rebuild their original academic, service-oriented and humanitarian thrust. The fraternity residents listen to you. Be very good examples of UP leadership and service. UP Alyansa proposes to actually start finding a solution to a complex problem. Inaction has never been an option.
ISKOLAR PARA SA BAYAN, KASAMA KA LABAN SA FRATERNITY-RELATED VIOLENCE.