Ateneo verifying sexual harassment reports vs. faculty members, vows impartial probe 'when warranted'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28)— The Ateneo de Manila University said it is looking into fresh allegations of sexual harassment against some members of its faculty, vowing to conduct an impartial investigation on the matter “when warranted.”

“We are saddened by recent social media posts of reported incidents of sexual harassment by certain members of the faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University. We assure our students that we are here to listen and support anyone who has experienced harassment,” the Katipunan-based university said in a statement on Saturday evening.

“We are verifying these reports and are ready to immediately begin an impartial investigation when warranted,” Ateneo said in the wake of the new claims.

Ateneo also reiterated its stance against sexual harassment, noting how the university prioritizes the welfare of students, as well as its mandate to make the campus a safe space for all. It likewise encouraged students and other parties to report information to concerned university authorities.

This is not the first time Ateneo addressed allegations of the same nature.

Late last year, students and some faculty members of the university staged protests, calling for the removal of "sexual predators" at their campus. Some students said there have been cases of sexual harassment where professors have gone unpunished.

Ateneo President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin has since apologized to the student community in light of the protests, and promised to take action to make the campus a “safer school.” This includes the proposed formation of an Office for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults.

Meanwhile, its neighboring school Miriam College also vowed to investigate reported incidents of sexual harassment in its campus, after several students and alumni called for justice for the victims.

The hashtag #MCHSdobetter shot to the top trending topics on social media the past week, as they spoke up about their personal experiences of alleged harassment by the school’s teachers.