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REDISCOVER UST’s The Varsitarian (Update 2)

An editorial from The Varsitarian, the 84-year-old official student publication of the 401-year-old University of Santo Tomas.

Read it.

Understand it.

Then ask. And form your own brand of intelligent opinion over this matter.

To see loads of concerned tweets and long threads of valid arguments from opposing sides posted on Facebook were a sure thing to wake you up on a Monday morning. And all because of such editorial. If there is any positive thing that this generated, it is the fact that there are many Filipinos, young and old, who have a good grasp about the nation’s issues and have intelligently expressed their dissatisfaction over an opinion-editorial piece such as The Varsitarian published.

I am an alumna of The Varsitarian. The very good things I learned from this publication that has a glorious roster of alumni (along working with fellow campus journalists who also pursued journalism and various related jobs in the media industry), were the things I tried to uphold and apply when I became a journalist myself.

And to see “angry” reactions over this editorial is quite a shock, and to an extent, disappointing. And I understand why.

First, it is a long, winding read, and I had to re-read it again — and again — to gain a better picture of what is being written here. If I read this right, this is about the Reproductive Health Bill and where the Catholic, academic institutions like Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University, and UST must stand regarding the issue.

But it spent a significant amount of space to the unnecessary, like calling names: “… unlike the Ateneo and La Salle professors who are intellectual pretenders and interlopers!” The exclamation point got me, among with other strong, unfounded arguments that call for more fact-checking and more updated information — that is disappointing for me. And oh, it did not spare its own: “If UST professors don’t agree with the stand of the CBCP [Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines], then they have a problem ….” There is no need to slam people and call them derogatory names to express, defend, and worse, sounding like threatening them, simply because you are strongly vouching for what you believe in.

It is funny to use this popular movie line, but this is what I think is appropriate for this situation (yes, I am quoting Uncle Ben from the Spider-man movie):

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

I will not further add fuel to this already spreading wildfire. I just could not help but think though that somewhere along the line — from writing this, to press work, to finally publishing/uploading this — something went wrong ….

If The Varsitarian truly upholds what it published, then it is definitely sticking to it. But hopefully, not sacrificing the glorious and commendable brand of campus journalism it built over the years.

UPDATE: As of last night, October 8, The Varsitarian publications adviser already apologized over this matter.

And while we amihans (our term of endearment for the publication’s alumni) have mixed reactions over this, let us remain grateful to The Varsitarian for what it imparted to us, and not sound like we are condemning the organization as if we were not part of it — at all.

“Once a V, always a V,” as we say.

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