Political Law

Ateneo de Manila University vs Judge Ignacio Capulong

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222 SCRA 644 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Academic Freedom – Power of Schools to Dismiss Erring Students

On February 8, 9, and 10 of 1991, a fraternity in Ateneo Law School named Aquila Legis conducted its initiation rites upon neophytes. Unfortunately, one neophyte died as a result thereof and one was hospitalized due to serious physical injuries. In a resolution dated March 9, 1991, the Disciplinary Board formed by Ateneo found seven students guilty of violating Rule 3 of the Rules on Discipline. Fr. Joaquin Bernas, then president of Ateneo, on the basis of the findings, ordered the expulsion of the seven students. However, on May 17, 1991, Judge Ignacio Capulong of the Makati RTC, upon the students’ petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus, ordered Ateneo to reverse its decision and reinstate the said students.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Ateneo Law School has competence to issue an order dismissing such students pursuant to its rules.

HELD: Yes, Ateneo has the competence and the power to dismiss its erring students and therefore it had validly exercised such power. The students do not deserve to claim a venerable institution such as Ateneo as their own a minute longer for they may foreseeably  cast a  malevolent influence on students currently enrolled as well as those who come after them. This is academic freedom on the part of the school which includes:

a. freedom to determine who may teach;

b. freedom to determine what may be taught;

c. freedom to determine how it shall be taught;

d. freedom to determine who may be admitted to study.

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