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Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan strongly denounces a piece of circulating fake news linking a number of its school personalities and an immersion program to the communist rebels and terrorists.

“We vehemently condemn this malicious, slanderous, and groundless red-tagging against some XU personalities and one of our well-established immersion programs,” said Fr Roberto C Yap SJ, university president.

He added: “This propaganda is devoid of any semblance of truth and substance. We must be critical and discerning in our news and information consumption, especially with those which were propagated and distributed through disreputable modes and channels.”

Yap slammed this red-baiting he sees as an orchestrated effort to intimidate the faculty members and undermine the programs of Xavier Ateneo.

“As a Jesuit academic institution, Xavier Ateneo remains committed to its mission of providing our students a real-life and holistic education through immersions and community engagements in the peripheries of our society,” Yap shared.

“Our programs are in line with our ethos of forming leaders who will be instrumental in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue, nation-building, and sustainable development.”

Two boxes containing the black propaganda, printed on a long bond paper, were reported to have been found during an opening program of a photo exhibit inside a mall in the city last week.

Local mall security seized the said boxes to prohibit the distribution of copies.

“We would like to assure the Xavier Ateneo community — our students, faculty members, administrators, staff, parents, and alumni — that we continue to look out for our safety and security at all times,” Yap said.

“No evidence exists that our university, programs, and activities are currently exposed to any grave threat.”

This incident came on the heels of a similar red-tagging of journalists, religious missionaries, human rights defenders, and other academic institutions over the last few months.

“From this experience, we encourage everyone to be more vigilant now more than ever and to continue to think critically of the state of our nation,” Yap said. “This calls us to unite as one Xavier Ateneo to exercise our academic freedom in pursuit of truth and speaking truth to power to build a healthier and more effective democratic society.”∎