The UP Diliman University Council (UC) denounced the removal of ‘subversive’ learning materials from the libraries of state universities nationwide.
The said council is led by UPD Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, its acting chairperson, and a governing body of professors, associate professors, and assistant professors from the constituent university.
In their official statement, the UC expressed their profound support for councils, colleges, and offices alike on the said matter.
“The University Council of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD UC) supports the recent statements of the UPD School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS), UPD Office of the Chancellor Executive Staff (OCES), and UP System-wide University Library Council in denouncing the removal of books in the libraries of three higher education institutions (HEIs),” the UC said.
‘Betrayal of academic freedom’
The council offered its response to the pronouncements of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero “Popoy” de Vera III regarding the issue.
According to the UC, CHED failed to uphold its mandate of defending academic freedom upon expressing its support to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as they “intrude into academic matters, control the contents of libraries, and suppress the academic freedom of students and faculty.”
“[de Vera’s] reproach of UP’s “interference” signaled his support for further removal of radical reading materials in other libraries, which betrays the notion of academic freedom that he professes.
“We are appalled that the CHED, through its Chair and a Regional Director, has failed in its mandate to uphold the higher education institutions’ revered tradition,” the UC stressed.
Furthermore, such attacks “critical thought, free discourse, and academic freedom” as a university’s core foundations were condoned by the UC.
“The purging of books is an attack on the life of the mind. It runs counter to the mission of universities to nurture critical thinking and expose students to the widest range of perspectives,” the UC added.
‘Bastions of democracy’
An earlier statement released by the UP SLIS on Oct. 6 explained the dire importance of exercising “free and open access to information” as a vital step in actively partaking in democratic societal processes.
“If we are to be truly free and democratic, we allow our citizens to have free and open access to information for them to critically think about their decisions and fully participate in democratic processes and uphold human rights and social justice all of which are embedded in our constitution,” they explained.
Moreover, urgent calls for unity among students, educators, librarians, and other practitioners alike to ceaselessly uphold the inherent value of libraries as “bastions of democracy” were made.
“We call on our fellow IS educators, librarians, information professionals, LIS students, researchers, and all who believe and value libraries as bastions of democracy, and all those who value our freedom, to take a stand and protect our libraries from all forms of censorship and all acts of book banning,” the UP SLIS said. DZUP