A school for the nation

By: Jason A. Baguia November 20,2018 - 09:32 PM

BAGUIA

The expansiveness of the space around me truly befitted the dignity of the only Philippine school system entitled by law to be called the national university.

The first time I really started exploring the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), I realized how understated was one Cebu driver’s observation to me that the UP Cebu campus in Barangay Lahug is so small.

I biked around the UPD Academic Oval on Saturday evening.

An installation, for Christmas, I think, was being built in front of the statue of the Oblation.

Turning right toward Roxas Avenue, I stopped and took a moment to gaze at the raintrees.

They rose high and covered the thoroughfare with their outstretched branches and leaves.

From where I stood, it seemed as if I was looking at the nave of a huge, green and brown cathedral.

I wish we had tree-covered streets everywhere in the country.

The road around the oval was a lesson in sharing.

Inner lanes are exclusive to hikers, joggers, and runners.

Middle lanes are reserved for bikers.

The outer lane is for four-wheel vehicles.

That could be a metaphor for our times.

In many places around the world, funding and support for the arts, humanities, and social sciences are being reduced or scrapped in favor of research and education in the hard sciences.

This should not continue, just as road congestion must not be our inevitable lot.

The oval’s green center is a space to sit or play or stare at the wide open sky.

Midway through my exploration, I stopped and looked at the wide open sky.

It was sunset, a perfect time to appreciate the silhouettes of trees and the oranges, yellows, reds, and indigos of clouds against the white sky and its shades of blue.

The expansiveness of the space around me truly befitted the dignity of the only Philippine school system entitled by law to be called the national university.

Today, as I walked past the UP Cebu administration building amid storm Samuel’s wind and rain, I realized that the edifice is indeed college-size by Diliman standards.

It is just about as big as Plaridel Hall, Vinzons Hall, or Vargas Hall in UPD.

Nevertheless, UP Cebu is now no longer a college but a constituent university of the UP System with its very own four colleges: College of Communication, Art, and Design (CCAD); College of Science (COS); College of Social Sciences (COSS), and School of Management (SOM).

Professor Rolando B. Tolentino, nominee for UP Cebu chancellor is uniquely positioned for leadership of UP Cebu with its four colleges.

His background in film, literature, and culture, roots him with CCAD. His educational attainment in Philippine Studies, economics, and accounting links him to COSS, SOM, and COS.

With him as chancellor, we will be led by someone who in an outstanding manner can epitomize expertise in his chosen field and more than embody generalist appreciation of multiple disciplines.

More importantly, with his well-documented national imaginary and international experience, he can, with constituents, set a clear pedagogical, research, and outreach agenda that places UP on the frontlines of nation-building.

As written in an online petition for a new UP Cebu chancellor to the UP Board of Regents: “As the voice of the national university in Central Visayas, the chancellorship should be by nature inclusive.

As leader of a community of the learned, the chancellor should be the first to speak on behalf of the afflicted, bringing the university’s primarily intellectual resources to their aid…

These communities and others have an urgent moral claim to the university’s outreach.

After six long years, they will be best served by a new chancellorship, one that envisions a UP Cebu that ignores fear of consequences to stand with and care for the larger community.”

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