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Saturday, November 20, 2004

GMA Blacklist

Wow, I did not read my other emails right away so I just found out about this issue two days too late. I did hear about GMA being in USF for an honorary doctorate but didn't know about her so-called 'blacklist' on supposed 'activists' who were also my former professors (who are very very cool and intelligent people by the way). Read the SFSU faculty's letter below in response to the blacklist...

November 17, 2004

To the Filipina/o American Community,

We, the undersigned, denounce the recent actions of the Philippine Consulate surrounding the investiture of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with an honorary doctorate from the University of San Francisco. Three Filipino American faculty members of San Francisco State University -- Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, Danilo Begonia and Dawn Bohulano Mabalon - were specifically excluded from attending the November 18th conferral ceremony.

Dr. Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, assistant professor of Asian American Studies, had accepted an invitation to attend the ceremony and was told that tickets would be procured for her by a USF colleague. On Wednesday, November 10, Dr. Tintiangco-Cubales was informed that the Philippine Consulate requested that her tickets be returned because her name, along with two other San Francisco State University professors, were on a list of "activists." The other faculty members were Professor Danilo Begonia of Asian American Studies, and Dawn B. Mabalon, assistant professor of History. She was further informed that she, the other named faculty members, and our students were on a list that barred all of them from attending the ceremony.

Dr. Mabalon called the Philippine Consulate and spoke to Vice Consul Anthony Mandap on Friday, November 12. She was told by an assistant that Vice Consul Mandap "has the list." Vice Consul Mandap admitted that the consulate had concerns about SF State faculty and students, and told her that the Consulate had received information from anonymous sources at USF that we and "our students are intending to rally." Vice Consul Mandap now denies any existence of a list of barred professors and students, possibly fearing the kind of public backlash a list of this kind would elicit. As of Friday, November 12, the consulate changed their position and maintained that all are welcome, but there are no more tickets for anyone.

We are shocked and outraged that the Philippine Consulate would, without substantive evidence, bar San Francisco State University faculty and students from the ceremony. It is a slap in the face to all of us who are community advocates, educators, and professionals. The implication that we are directing our students to disrupt this ceremony is truly ridiculous. We believe this targeting of Filipino American faculty and students as potential threats to national and international security is an unreasonable and anti-democratic exercise of power by the Philippine government. It also places the professional careers and personal reputations of faculty and students unnecessarily at risk. This exclusion from the event is not only embarrassing, it could also cause unreasonable risk of harm to our professional careers, personal reputations and work in the community.

The existence of this list and these practices create an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, hysteria and division in which legitimate and constitutionally protected political discourse between academics and their students will be considered subversive. Placement on this list presents an immediate chilling effect on academic freedom.

In this situation, the only individuals that have been marked have been educators. This appears to be scapegoating of academics and students. Although we were not involved in planning an action against the Philippine President's visit to USF, we are against the unjust suppression of political discourse and peaceful demonstrations. No one should ever be condemned for exercising their constitutional right to engage and participate in political discussion. These are fundamental elements of the American educational and political processes.

Because of this unfortunate occurrence, we feel that our professional reputations have been smeared. We have long-standing, important, positive and productive relationships with faculty, staff and students at USF, relationships strengthened by our academic collaborations, networks, and community partnerships. Because of the actions of the Consulate, relations have been strained between our faculty and our colleagues at University of San Francisco.

As educators who are well aware of the importance of academic freedom and its rational limits, we believe the actions of the Philippine Consulate constitute suppression of legitimate political discussion. The many adverse effects of the Patriot Act on political expression and civil discourse in the United States are already well-documented, and we deplore the Philippine Consulate's clear complicity in this regard.

We, the undersigned, are concerned Filipina/o American faculty at San Francisco State University.

Danilo Begonia
Professor, Asian American Studies

Daniel Gonzales
Associate Professor, Asian American Studies

Benito Vergara
Assistant Professor, Asian American Studies

Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales
Assistant Professor, Asian American Studies

Dawn Bohulano Mabalon
Assistant Professor, History

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