Constitutional Law

Montemayor vs. Araneta G.R. No. L-44251 May 31, 1977 77 SCRA 321 Academic Freedom



Petitioner was a professor at the Araneta University Foundation.  On 7/8/74, he was found guilty  of making homosexual advances on one Leonardo De Lara by a faculty investigating committee.  On 11/8/74, another committee was appointed to investigate another charge of a similar nature against petitioner.  Petitioner, through counsel, asked for the postponement of the hearing set for 11/18 and 19, 1974, but the motion was denied.  The committee then proceeded to hear the testimony of the complainants and on 12/5/74, submitted its report recommending the separation of petitioner from the University.  On 12/12/74, the University applied w/ the NLRC for clearance to terminate petitioner’s employment.  Meanwhile, petitioner filed a complaint w/ the NLRC for reinstatement and backwages.  Judgement was rendered in petitioner’s favor, but on appeal to the Sec. of Labor, the latter found petitioner’s dismissal to be justified.  Hence, this petition for certiorari.


Does academic freedom include the right of schools to dismiss teachers?


Yes. Institutional academic freedom was vindicated in this case, where, against the plea of academic freedom and security of tenure of a professor, the school was allowed to separate a professor who after due process had been found guilty of violating behavioral standards.

The stand taken by petitioner as to his being entitled to security of tenure is reinforced by the provision on academic freedom which, as noted, is found in the Constitution. It was pointed out in Garcia v. The Faculty Admission, Committee that academic freedom “is more often Identified with the right of a faculty member to pursue his studies in his particular specialty and thereafter to make known or publish the result of his endeavors without fear that retribution would be visited on him in the event that his conclusions are found distasteful or objectionable to the powers that be, whether in the political, economic, or academic establishments. For the sociologist, Robert Maclver, it is ‘a right claimed by the accredited educator, as teacher and as investigator, to interpret his findings and to communicate his conclusions without being subjected to any interference, molestation, or penalization because these conclusions are unacceptable to some constituted authority within or beyond the institution.” Tenure, according to him, is of the essence of such freedom. For him, without tenure that assures a faculty member “against dismissal or professional penalization on grounds other than professional incompetence or conduct that in the judgment of his colleagues renders him unfit” for membership in the faculty, the academic right becomes non-existent, Security of tenure, for another scholar, Love joy, is “the chief practical requisite for academic freedom” of a university professor. As with Maclver, he did not rule out removal but only “for some grave cause,” Identified by him as “proved incompetence or moral delinquency.”

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