‘Nakakalungkot’: How students reacted to student council’s UP Fair 2023 statement

‘Nakakalungkot’: How students reacted to student council’s UP Fair 2023 statement

Trigger Warning: Contains mentions of violence in relation to hazing and indigenous people 

A university student council was told to hold itself “accountable” after releasing a statement addressing concerns related to its upcoming university fair involving a controversial fraternity.

The University of the Philippines-Diliman‘s University Student Council (USC) said it is calling on all organizers, night handlers, performers and the people involved in the upcoming UP Fair this year, “Polaris,” to be firmly in line with the campaigns and advocacies that the activity carries.

Its statement came after UP Babaylan, the university’s longest-existing LBGTQ+ student organization, urged the USC and the UP Fair Team “to uphold the call to #EndFRV” or fraternity-related violence amid Upsilon Sigma Phi‘s participation as one of the fair’s night handlers of “Polaris” on February 17 to 18.

UP Babaylan stressed that the UP Fair “has always branded itself as a protest,” describing it as a “week-long musical festival carrying different advocacies.”

“Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity is the formation notorious for the brawl along the AS-CAL walkway and numerous reports of hazing,” the student org said on February 3, referring to the street in the middle of Palma Hall and the Faculty Center.

“Further, they are the same fraternity infamous for the #LonsiLeaks. The UP Community will never forget how they spewed homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, islamophobic, anti-Lumad, and pro-genocide rhetoric targeting different marginalized sectors within and beyond the university,” it added.

UP Babaylan also said that the frat “has neither acknowledged nor apologized for these leaked conversations,” referring to the “#LonsiLeaks” incident.

“By giving a wider avenue to a formation with a long history of unresolved cases of violence, the USC, despite being vocal about their call to #EndFRV and #EndImpunity, failed to uphold their very call,” the org added.

The USC, in response, acknowledged the UP Fair’s history as the “longest and largest student-run advocacy-led music concert” on the campus.

It also assured the public that the council “will thoroughly review the fair’s processes and build resolutions with stakeholders that will further highlight the integrity of UP Fair as an event centered on our right to organize and protest.”

The USC maintained that the UP Fair is a “safe space for everyone to engage in pressing issues and register their calls,” adding that the student council “remains committed to its role in ending all forms of discrimination and organization-related violence.”

“We shall continue exhausting efforts by conducting extensive dialogues with UP Diliman offices and constituents, abiding by due processes to hold entities accountable, and uniting the community to call for the fair and timely delivery of justice,” it said in a statement.

The USC also said that the “need to support and strengthen the campaigns of the masses holds more weight” as the political climate in the country “worsens.”

“In these challenging times, the community and its members must exhaust avenues and platforms to sustain our advocacies and calls, including this is the expansion of UP Fair’s vision to include night handlers and bidding processes to raise funds and support for beneficiaries,” the student council continued.

It said it was reiterating its commitment to “end the culture of violence and impunity,” adding its calls to “reject” the leadership of the Marcos-Duterte tandem.

‘Unbecoming’ of highest student governing body 

USC’s statement about the fraternity’s major involvement in the UP Fair 2023 did not please some Filipinos who commented that it failed to hold itself “accountable” to the students it was supposedly representing.

“By allowing Upsilon to host, a fraternity with a long history of violence and unresolved issues, you made the Fair unsafe to everyone who deems it unsafe,” Amber Gonzales Quiban, an officer of the Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders, commented. 

“If you are committed to ending discrimination and violence then you shouldn’t have allowed Upsilon to host and you should have acknowledged your lapses here. Do better, USC,” she added.

Another Facebook user noticed the USC’s non-mention of the Upsilon fraternity in its statement.

“NAKAKALUNGKOT. ‘Yung pina-kabare minimum na nga ng pag-me-mention ng UPSILON (ang literal na UGAT ng isyu at ng statement niyo) ‘di niyo magawa. Maka-taktikal man ‘yan na gawa o mismong pag-iwas sa pag-condemn ng mga ‘kasama’, literal na dugo ang inyong nasa mga kamay,” she wrote.

“Hindi niyo maaayos o makikita ‘yang mga pwedeng i-improve diyan nang ‘di niyo INA-ACKNOWLEDGE na may FRV at ang UPSILON ay isa sa mga nang-aabuso ng pagiging macho pyudal ng sistema,” the online user added.

A student who claimed to be a part of an “emergency online meeting” with the USC also said that its recent actions “have been extremely reactionary and performative” in response to the issue.


Political org UP ALYANSA (Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran) also said that the USC “fails to acknowledge and address the concerns of its constituents surrounding the event.”

“Specifically, allowing Upsilon Sigma Phi, a fraternity with a known history of impunity and violence, to participate and be one of the night handlers of UP Fair 2023,” it added.

“By allowing Upsilon Sigma Phi, a fraternity with known history of impunity and violence, to further their platform as one of the

night-handlers of UP Fair 2023, is a clear manifestation of the lack of respect in the essence of the event. The USC undermined the purpose of UP Fair being an advocacy-driven event,” UP ALYANSA said.

It added that the org, together with its member-organizations, “vehemently denounces the lack of recognition of accountability” of the USC in its released statement.

“UP ALYANSA also reaffirms our call to end all frat-related violence now! As the University of the People, we enjoin our fellow Iskolars ng Bayan to remain steadfast in this campaign,” it said.

The political org also said that despite the concerns “raised internally” through various constituents, the USC “still failed to address, take accountability, and provide concrete action steps in moving forward.”

“This is unbecoming of the highest student governing body

in UP Diliman that is supposed to represent our calls, protect our rights, and assure our welfare,” UP ALYANSA continued.

It also listed a series of supposed “bare minimum” proposed initiatives that can be done to achieve the students’ demands “to hold fraternities accountable and end fraternity-related violence.”


“Lonsi Leaks” or “#LonsiLeaks” refers to the leaked group chat of some of the fraternity’s alleged members in 2018.

The controversial group chat contained messages indicating sexism, misogyny, racism and slurs against the poor, the LGBTQ+ community and Muslims.

The chats also reportedly contained messages about killing Lumads, the largest group of indigenous people in the country.

It additionally contained far-right political ideals, with some members expressing support for Martial Law and the Marcos regime headed by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

READ: Upsilon Sigma Phi members denounce views of alleged frat brothers in #LonsiLeaks

A frat member had resigned following the incident before, saying he was disillusioned.

ALSO READ: Upsilon Sigma Phi member resigns from fraternity a day after #LonsiLeaks

Other groups similarly condemned the fraternity for some of its members’ alleged views.

RELATED: What concerned groups are saying about Upsilon Sigma Phi’s #LonsiLeaks

Upsilon previously said the incident was a “concerted effort to besmirch” its reputation and added that it “strongly condemn[s]” the discriminatory acts in the reported messages.

The fraternity at that time said it had conducted an initial investigation and was coordinating with the UP’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Last year, Upsilon got embroiled in hazing allegations after the Philippine Collegian reported that a now-suspended Twitter account shared photos and a video of UP students covered in blood.

“One image showed a student kneeling in front of several Upsilon mementos and a paddle with the fraternity’s logo,” the report said in July 2022.

An OPM band and a concert partner also backed out when UP held “Social U: Polaris — A Balik UP Concert” last December after discovering it was partly organized by Upsilon.

The initiative came after some Filipinos brought up the controversies associated with the fraternity following the event’s promotion on social media.

READ: Band, publicity partner back out of concert amid ‘#LonsiLeaks’ issue hounding organizer

Last Sunday, a Twitter account similarly made potential UP Fair attendees aware of the issues involving Upsilon.

“PSA: Sa mga gustong pumunta sa Polaris (UP Fair Friday) dahil sa solid na line up, remind ko lang kayo na ganitong klase ng mga tao ang nasa likod ng Upsilon (nag-organize at may hawak ng event),” it said.

“#EndFRV #AbolishFrats,” the Twitter account added.

The UP Fair, apart from celebrating local musical talents, also serves as a platform for making advocacies and social issues heard.

It started in the Martial Law era of the ’70s when the gathering served as a platform for protests organized by students at the UP Los Baños. The next events eventually became an avenue where activism and music could collide.

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