Response of the Board of Trustees on the issues arising from the Commencement Address of Manuel V. Pangilinan
April 13, 2010 4 Comments
The Board of Trustees met on April 11, 2010 to deliberate on the issues arising from the commencement addresses of its Chairman, Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan, on March 26 & 27, 2010. The Board reviewed the history of the case, from the writing of the speeches to the posting of the blogs, from the response of Mr. Pangilinan to the reply of Fr. Nebres issued on April 3, 2010. It kept in mind as well the concerned statements from faculty, students, staff, administrators and the public at large.
1. The Board considers the matter of plagiarism very serious, particularly for an academic institution. It recognizes that Mr. Pangilinan considered this a very serious matter that has caused him deep embarrassment and pain. With him, the Ateneo community has struggled with the issue and engaged in a deep reflection on its own values of honesty and integrity.
2. In its discussion, the Board kept in mind the Catholic moral tradition which for culpability considers not just the seriousness of the matter but also whether there is full awareness and consent. It recognizes that the matter is serious, but that the plagiarism happened without full awareness on the part of Mr. Pangilinan.
3. At the same time, the Board acknowledges with deep respect Mr. Pangilinan’s immediate and full acceptance of responsibility and apology for this mistake. This is particularly admirable, because in acting in this manner, he spared others from this responsibility. This is a rare example of humility, selflessness, and leadership in our midst.
4. The Board accepts Mr. Pangilinan’s apology as the appropriate response to this unfortunate incident.
5. However, the unanimous decision of the Board is not to accept Mr. Pangilinan’s resignation. It expresses full confidence in his leadership as Chairman.
6. On the matter of the honorary degree conferred on Mr. Pangilinan, the reasons for the conferment are articulated in the citation. These are his visionary leadership, his love of country and service and commitment to our people, his generous self-giving to our country, the Ateneo de Manila and many other institutions. These remain unchanged.
In conclusion, the Board of Trustees asks Mr. Pangilinan to please reconsider his resignation from the Ateneo Board of Trustees. There is so much to be done, not just for the Ateneo, but for our country and people. His leadership is needed today more than ever.