Artist group stands in solidarity with Ateneans protesting hub’s anti-loitering policy

November 17, 2022 - 6:34 PM
This 2019 photo shows Arete Ateneo. (Global Ateneo)

A progressive artist group is standing in solidarity with Atenean students reportedly protesting over some policies of the university’s creativity and innovation hub on loitering.

Panday Sining on Thursday said that Areté Ateneo‘s “No Loitering” policy “stands in contradiction with the university’s function which is to promote academic freedom and to provide spaces for learning even outside its classrooms.”

“Ateneans, we are with you!” the group said on Twitter in response to a post by Heights Ateneo, the university’s official literary and artistic publication.

Panday Sining also noted that the incident happened on International Students’ Day on November 17.

Reports said the students’ day was initially commemorated in memory of students’ bravery in Prague. These students fought for national pride and their right to higher education when Nazis stormed Czech universities in 1939.

The day is now commemorated to protect students’ rights and support calls for institutions to provide them safe, secure and adequate economic, social and health benefits for their well-being worldwide.

Heights Ateneo on Thursday morning reported that several satirical posters were found in Areté which mimicked a November 9 memorandum on the complex’s prohibition on loitering.

Loitering is defined as “to remain in an area for no obvious reason.”

“The posters were found just today, with the same format as the aforementioned but with #AreteArteArte found at the bottom,” Heights Ateneo said.

More pictures of the posters were tweeted by the user with the handle @kitsuani. This bore the following phrases:

  • “We prefer silence over art-making.”
  • “Keep our corridors as empty as your souls.”
  • “Creativity is prohibited in this ‘Creativity and Innovation Hub.'”
  • “Bawal ang dugyot dito. Du’n kayo sa Matteo humilata, k?”

A close-up of a poster bearing the phrase “We prefer silence over art-making” reveals the following words beneath it: “Activities that promote noise such as photoshoots and video recordings are not allowed.”

“Scan the QR Code for more repressive policies,” its text read.

The hashtag “#AreteArteArte” can also be spotted at the bottom part.

Areté was opened inside the campus in 2018 as a “hub for creativity and innovation,” according to Ateneo de Manila University.

“It is designed to build a culture that advances a new wave of artistic and ingenious creations through the fusion of art, science, culture, and technology,” a news release on the university’s website said.

The complex houses the Ateneo Art Gallery, the Black Box Theater, the 900-seater Hyundai Hall, a dance studio, a teaching restaurant, a painting room, non-traditional classrooms and centers such as the Ateneo Laboratory for the Learning Sciences and Ateneo SALT (Science and Art of Learning and Teaching).

“Areté is intended to stimulate creative, adaptive, and multi-dimensional thinking, and in the process, generate new ideas, products, and services that will be the essential drivers of a knowledge economy,” then-university president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin said.

“All these shall be built on the time-honored Jesuit foundational core of the liberal arts and the sciences,” he added.

The complex describes itself as the following, based on its website: “As the creativity and innovation hub of the Ateneo de Manila University, Areté provides the space and freedom for groups from different fields and persuasions to create, collaborate on, and share knowledge, skills, and practices.”