By Joshua Medina
Chalk Campus Correspondent
Every now and then we get news from our local top universities that spark controversies that we would never expect from such highly-regarded institutions. These stories blow up, people are “cancelled,” and eventually public outrage and interest dies after some time whether the involved parties have been punished or not. Emerging from the supposed haven of progressive thought and intellectual discourse in the Philippines comes this latest iteration of this type of issue.
While students from the University of the Philippines were packing their readings away and getting ready for their next day of classes, a newly minted Twitter account dropped alleged leaked conversations between members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity in a group chat, to the immediate outrage of the UP community, and it seems that this could be the last straw that pushes people over the edge.
From Cory Aquino to the Lumad community, and any woman ever born, these frat men spared no demographic of society from their inhumane remarks as seen on screenshots posted on the now private Twitter account @100Upsilon.
The conversation speaks volumes on how men of this kind speak behind closed doors, when they think no one is watching, and when they know they have the backing of powerful men in high positions. The UP administration is currently filled with Upsilon members, with both the President and Vice President of the University being among their ranks.
And yet, at the face of all this misogyny, impunity, and downright abhorrent behavior, there is hope. There is hope in men, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community all around Twitter, even those being directly mentioned in the alleged messages, are standing up for themselves and directly confronting those that wronged them.
There is hope that the entire Academic community can rally together and end this culture of violence perpetuated by men such as these.
And there is hope that there are student-leaders who are unafraid to go up against the so called “oldest born, greatest known” fraternity in the Philippines.
The response to this leak was as furious as it was widespread. Days after the initial leak, members of the UP community have been unrelenting in their pursuit for accountability and justice. This issue is no longer limited to the walls of the classrooms or the university gates. Students and leaders across the country are weighing in on the issue, and putting the spotlight on this culture.
The student council of UP’s Katipunan neighbor, Ateneo, has released an official statement regarding the issue.
And even outside the academe, Senator Risa Hontiveros weighs in on the matter and calls for the end of misogyny.
With the fraternity celebrating it’s centennial anniversary this year, and their legacy in the UP community at stake, it will be interesting to see how these issues will be dealt with. We’ve seen statements of condemnation from fraternity brothers, even statements of resignation. And yet, the community clamors for more.
This is a community that is fed up with impunity, fed up with misogyny and homophobia, and, most of all, fed up with people destroying the safety and security that schools and universities should provide.
The fight does not end in calling people out online, and it doesn’t end with the punishment of these fraternity brothers. Misogyny, homophobia, and other toxic mentalities take root in daily interactions, in the words and actions that you exchange with your peers. In our smallest ways, we shape society on a whole, we shape what our values and morals are. When these men decided to speak in this manner, they decided to harm society, and society has willingly chosen to fight back. Do not be afraid to call out this behavior. Do not be afraid to challenge and confront the people you feel are harmful to others. Or you might end up regretting it.
Fight back, and fight hard. This is how we can win against these destructive cultures that threaten a safer, more progressive society.
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