THE Xavier University welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) suspending its former law professor for sexual harassment charges, even disclosing it already terminated the lawyer’s services for the same reasons.
In a statement released Wednesday, July 10, the XU said the decision is an affirmation of a resolution reached by the XU Committee in Decorum on September 5, 2002, for the same complaints against lawyer Cresencio Co-Untian Jr.
The committee found Co-Untian guilty of violating Xavier’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines, and resolved not to renew his contract.
Since then, the XU said Co-Untian has not been a member of the faculty at XU.
“Xavier Ateneo does not take lightly the issue of sexual harassment, particularly in an academic setting where students should feel safe and secure in studying their respective courses,” it said.
“Any form of sexual harassment has no place in a learning institution. We stand by the decision of the Supreme Court making Co-Untian accountable for his actions,” the statement adds.
The university said it agrees with the words of Associate Justice Jose Reyes, Jr.: “The Court explained that the essence of sexual harassment is not the violation of the victim’s sexuality but the abuse of power by the offender. In other words, what the law aims to punish is the undue exercise of power and authority manifested through sexually charged conduct or one filled with sexual undertones.”
The statement adds, that XU has strictly implemented rules and regulations which prescribe proper decorum for administrators, faculty, staff, formators, and students and for the resolution, settlement, and disposition of cases of sexual harassment.
The Jesuit university assured that it has put in place appropriate measures and interventions to resolve this case in 2002.
“We remain committed to strengthening our formation programs and protocols to ensure that all members of the Xavier Ateneo family, especially our students, fully enjoy a conducive learning environment, free from fear, intimidation, and harassment,” it adds.