CMC slate leaves STAND UP banner, runs independently

TW: Sexual harassment

The College of Mass Communication (CMC) student council election candidates have cut ties with university-wide political party Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP).

The CMC slate will continue to run independently as a five-person lineup. Journalism Representative Steffany Grace Limbaga has withdrawn her candidacy, leaving over half of the roster vacant.

There are no candidates for five positions – vice chairperson, secretary and representatives for Journalism, Film and Broadcast Media Arts and Studies departments.

During Aktibisita 2023, a forum hosted by the UP Political Society on May 4, alleged sexual harassment cases of STAND UP members came to light. Several victim-survivors have since come forward through social media.

The CMC candidates expressed dismay over the “mishandling” of sexual harassment cases within the university-wide alliance. They cited that the CMC leg was “never informed of the existence of such cases.”

“The slate cannot reconcile carrying the name of the university-wide formation when its leaders do not represent the principles and mass campaigns our college has forwarded for so long,” their May 9 statement read.

The roster urged the university-wide formation to stand with the victims, rectify their lapses and hold the offenders accountable. The all-women slate also vowed to continue upholding the values of the party. 

“In our independent capacity as student-leaders, we shall exhaust all means and remain uncompromising in strengthening safe spaces for free expression within and beyond the college and in ensuring that victim-survivors receive justice on their own terms,” their statement read.

Local chapter STAND UP CMC also stood their ground against the sexual harassment cases and “failed leadership” that have loomed within the organization. 

Unlike the CMC slate, STAND UP CMC remains affiliated with the university-wide alliance. They explained that it is their responsibility as local chapter to condemn such acts and even spearhead rectifications if needed.

Sa panahong hindi pangunahan ng STAND UP Diliman ang pagbabago at pagwawasto ng pamunuan, nakahanda ang STAND UP CMC na manguna sa pagwawasto ng partido,” the local chapter said in a statement posted on May 9.

The CMC-based formation challenged STAND UP to uphold their principles, calling on other college-wide formations to also demand accountability from the offenders. 

Seven local chapters have disaffiliated from STAND UP since May 6: SALiGAN sa CSSP, STAND UP NCPAG, STAND UP CHE, STAND UP CAL, STAND UP CSWCD, STAND UP Clark and STAND UP AIT.

Meanwhile, Matthew Wovi Villanueva is the remaining councilor on STAND UP’s slate, as the eight other bets have either disaffiliated from the party or withdrawn their candidacy in the university elections.

Six days after Aktibisita, STAND UP issued a public apology to the victims and to the UP community. They acknowledged “major errors in leadership” within their alliance and “direct violations committed by certain members.”

“We recognize these alarming concerns and sincerely apologize to victims who were deprived of safe spaces and due accountability,” they said in their May 10 statement signed by STAND UP’s newly re-established executive board.

The party also said that they respect their local chapters’ decision to disaffiliate.