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Miriam College To 'Form A Committee' To Address #MCHSDoBetter Sexual Harassment Accusations

More students from different schools have been speaking up.
ART SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

One June 24, the hashtag #MCHSDoBetter began trending on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook after a slew of students and alumni started writing about their personal accounts of sexual harassment from faculty members while enrolled in Miriam College High School. Some tweets also questioned the school administration's alleged poor management of the reported incidents.

MCHS students and alumni are now clamoring for corresponding action from the school management on the issue.

The movement also encouraged students from other local Catholic campuses to take to social media to share their own experiences of harassment from various school staff.

Time's Up Ateneo, a coalition of Ateneo de Manila University students, faculty, alumni, and parents fighting against sexual violence and impunity on campus, also posted a statement in support of the "growing number of high school students and alumni across the country who have been speaking out against sexual violence and impunity in their campuses."

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Other schools mentioned in the post are Marikina Science High School (#MARISCIDOBETTER), Quezon City Science High School, St. Theresa's College (#STCDOBETTER), St. Paul College Pasig (#SPCPSQUAREUP), and Bulacan State University Laboratory High School.

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Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, who called for all schools mentioned to conduct a prompt investigation into all reports of harassment, also said in a tweet that the "Kabataan PL will be filing another resolution seeking probe into schools procedures for investigation of sexual harassment cases and corresponding administrative sanctions as mandated in RA7877. Isulong ang mas pinalawig na batas sa Anti-Sexual Harassment. Labanan ang abuso!"

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On June 25, Miriam College president Amb. Laura Q. Del Rosario addressed the allegations in an official statement about their "commitment to truth and restorative justice" on their website (published as is):

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Dear Members of the Miriam College Community, our dear Alumni, and Friends,

We heard and we listened to the pain- anger- frustration-driven Twitter messages on the purported inappropriate behavior of a few male teachers in our High School through the years. It pained us to know that said stories could be told in what we proudly call “a caring institution.” Please be assured that we have promptly initiated investigation of these reports and will take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.

We want all our teachers to be role models in leading their students towards well-being in partnership with the parents of our students leading their families.

We also do not want our students to fear retribution nor faculty members to fear lack of due process when cases such as the ones tweeted about are raised. It is thus to allay fear and to build trust in the Miriam College system that, aside from the present Academic unit mechanisms, we likewise move towards an institutional mechanism that will promote trust in the process, based on a culture of Christ-like understanding. This mechanism will be called the Justice, Truth, and Reconciliation Institutional Committee that will initiate a serious review of the cases in the past and the resolution of these cases. This institutional Committee, independent of any existing committees will also look into and act on the current cases, if any, and to recommend appropriate steps. And in the end, we hope that closures will be achieved, and reconciliation becomes possible.

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Beyond the formation of this Committee, Miriam College will undergo a serious process of self-criticism to re-define more deeply the meaning of Justice—especially in its restorative sense in addition to our lessons on social equity and distributive justice–so that our community will understand its meaning and realize that Love without Trust is meaningless.

We acknowledge that in any relationship, despite one side doing what it considers the “right thing”, the other side will consider it as not good enough.

On behalf of my fellow administrators, past and present, the Unit Heads, the administration of other units, the faculty of Miriam College in all levels, I wish to express to our Community, Alumni, and Friends our profound sadness for the pain and anger that the school system’s various members may have caused.

I wish to assure everybody that Miriam College will do better as it moves forward to serve other communities beyond our physical borders, and it will continue to produce graduates who are empowered not for themselves alone, but so they could help the powerless. And in the end, we can truly call ourselves “a caring institution.” 

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Stay tuned for more updates.

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