UP JMA, Ecosoc out of UP Fair 2024 over leaked ‘extreme’ dares

Story by A.J.L.

Two University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman student organizations, who won hosting bids for UP Fair 2024, were booted out of the night handlers list after inappropriate “dares” related to their activities leaked and drew flak online.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday evening, Oct. 17, the UP Diliman University Student Council (USC) and the UP Fair Core Team identified the lists of dares as part of the respective activities of UP Junior Marketing Association (UP JMA) and UP Economics Society (UP Ecosoc).

Among the acts included in the list were sexual gestures against another person or inanimate object, disruptive acts in public places, and indecent actions against family members.

The lists also state whether the dares will be captured in a photo or video. 

“Such acts infringe on the right of the students and the community to exist in safe spaces, and have no place in the University. There should be no tolerance for these acts in any degree or severity,” the joint statement of the UP Fair Core Team and USC reads.

Moreover, the two organizing entities also said they have coordinated with pertinent UP Diliman offices regarding the issue and reminded the public to treat the matter with utmost sensitivity and caution.

JMA ‘dares’

Prior to the USC and UP Fair Core Team’s decision, UP JMA initially withdrew as night handlers for the annual music and advocacy festival.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 17, the organization implicitly admitted the list of dares by apologizing to the public and clarifying that the dares were part of their previous “committee wars,” an annual, internal competition played by its members.

“We sincerely apologize for the nature of these dares, and how it has jeopardized the integrity of the safe spaces we work hard to foster within and outside the organization,” the statement reads.

UP JMA was supposed to carry women and gender campaigns in UP Fair 2024.

While the association reiterated that members and applicants “were not and will never be required to participate” in the activity, they recognized that the competitive nature of the event subsequently encouraged participation.

Further, UP JMA also apologized to one of its members, “Cent,” whom they approached to publicly respond to a tweet and “clarify things” on their behalf. 

In a now-unavailable series of tweets, Cent narrated how the executive committee of UP JMA requested him to explain that the list of dares was consensual and not part of the organization’s application process.

As of press time, Cent has already deactivated his Twitter account. In a message to Tinig ng Plaridel, he said that he would take some time off social media because the recent “personal attacks are starting to take a toll” on him.

“We claim full responsibility for this shameful lack of consideration for member welfare and safety,” UP JMA said in their statement.

The organization said it is now focusing on regaining the trust of the UP community by “recalibrating” their traditions.

On Monday, Oct. 16, UP Pride 2023 also removed UP JMA from their list of partner organizations for “failing to uphold” its campaign on safe spaces.

Ecosoc’s troubles

But even before JMA could release their statement, another list of alleged extreme dares was posted and shared online — this time from UP Ecosoc.

Reddit user OccasionBackground40 posted screenshots of supposed ‘dares’ for the organization’s “Scav Hunt,” an internal activity similar to UP JMA’s.

The tasks include instructing women to “moan as loud as [they] can,” do “sexy poses” inside a cubicle for persons with disabilities, and post to “appear naked” in a photo.

In an online exchange with TNP, a representative from the UP Fair Core Team said they have already confirmed the authenticity of the screenshots with UP Ecosoc through a dialogue.

As of writing, however, UP Ecosoc has yet to release a statement regarding these developments. 

UP Ecosoc hosted “Dimensions” for UP Fair 2023, as well as the “Roots Music Festival” before the COVID-19 pandemic. They were supposed to integrate campaigns on education at the advocacy-driven music fair next year.

Filling the vacancies

To fill the two vacant night handler positions, the UP Fair Core Team agreed to reopen the bidding process to all organizations for the sectoral campaigns left vacant by UP JMA and UP Ecosoc.

The resolution was approved by representatives of different student councils and formations in the All Leaders’ Conference (ALC) during an emergency general assembly on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Among those who seconded the resolution are original UP Fair 2024 night handler bidders UP Junior Finance Association and the Epsilon Chi Fraternity.

When asked about measures to prevent a repeat of the incident, UP Fair 2024 overall co-head Erwin Medina reiterated that they will open the presentation of applicant organizations to the public again, and disseminate sensing and grievance forms.

Meanwhile, a resolution allowing the remaining night handlers to rechoose their preferred dates was also approved by the assembly.

According to the UP Fair Core Team, the complete list of final night handlers and their respective dates are expected to be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 24.


Editor’s note:

If you or someone you know is in need of help, you may contact the following offices:

UP Diliman Office of Anti-Sexual Harassment – 981-8500 local 2465 or 2466

UP Diliman Gender Office – Counseling: 0967 300 9206 (Globe) or 0960 230 2343 (Smart)

UP Diliman Psychosocial Services: 0916 757 3157