SISOH: Raising Issues, Identifying Topics

October 01, 2018

Junior faculty from different departments of the School of Humanities met for their first session of SISOH (Socially Involved School of Humanities) last September 26, 5 pm. Participants included Edwin Odulio (Theology), Francis Sollano (English), Bernard Caslib (Philosophy), John Lenon (Theology), Aaron Reyes (Theology), Rae Sanchez (Theology), Jemboy Sta. Maria (Philosophy), Louie Julian (Philosophy), Noel Clemente (Philosophy), and Smile Indias (Fine Arts). They agreed on the name SISOH and the tagline “Balanced Views.”

SISOH aims to increase interdepartmental discussion on social issues, especially among junior faculty, that will build networks and relationships and cultivate a culture in which social issues become increasingly part of the personal and professional concerns of the faculty. To that end, SISOH will organize conversations with various invited marginalized sectors up to four times a year. These will be facilitated by resource persons.
The participants raised topics that could be the focus of the group conversations. These were social media, mental health, marginal political views at the Ateneo, labor, and gender. 
Regarding social media, some participants observed that notwithstanding the multiplicity of views and information on social media, confirmation bias remains strong. Thus, genuine exchange is stymied. The importance of framing information was also raised. 
Concerning mental health, the participants shared how the increase in the number of students with mental health issues poses challenges to teaching and feedback giving. Finding the mesotes or “the right measure” between being critical and being caring was identified as a challenge. 
On political views, the participants expressed interest in holding fora where views about the current government administration that run counter to what the Ateneo appears to subscribe to may be aired. An engagement with contrary political opinions or marginal views in school may help illuminate them. 
About labor, many issues were identified, such as strikes and contractualization, which happen both inside and outside the Ateneo. 
On gender, the participants discussed topics that could be further explored such issues as educating men on becoming become better human beings by being better men, inclusivity towards LGBTQ, catcalling and sexual harassment, and interpreting pagnanasa or yearning, not merely in terms of concupiscence, as in “sexual desire,” but in relation to a deeper desire, as an expression of “a heart’s innermost longing.” 
The group decided to prioritize gender, marginal political views in school, and social media in the following sessions that are planned to take place on these dates: Nov. 7, Feb. 13, and April 3.