By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
A GROUP of Xavier University alumni and other concerned people started a signature campaign here on Friday in hopes of gaining support of their opposition to the planned conversion of the Jesuit-run campus into a commercial complex.
The group, who called “No to XU Campus Sale Alliance,” are asking residents to help in convincing the Ateneo and Jesuit leadership not to push through with the plan following the submission of a letter of appeal to Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Society of Jesus’ superior general.
The group is opposed to the plan to transfer colleges to the Xavier-owned Manresa Complex where agriculture students usually hold their fieldwork in the uptown area. The plan is to turn the original campus into a complex of mixed-use buildings.
In their Sept. 18, 2019 letter to Abascal, the group said the opposition is based on the fact that the Xavier Ateneo college campus along Corrales Avenue is a cultural heritage.
“As the first Catholic University ever, it qualifies as Important Cultural Property under the National Cultural Heritage Law of the Philippines of 2009,” it said.
The present campus, the group said, is also “highly accessible to students from all corners of the city and nearby towns. Putting 10,000-20,000 students in Manresa will worsen the already bad traffic in Carmen.”
The alliance maintained that the buildings inside the main campus are the “fruit of the labors of generations of XU and Ateneo de Cagayan alumni, community and the Jesuits” adding that it is “home to Cagayanons and Mindanawons and is an iconic symbol of the Jesuit education tradition of excellence and spirituality, the formation of faith that does justice… of preparing ‘men and women of integrity and leadership’ for others.”
The alliance said that while they recognize the need to further develop and enhance Xavier Ateneo’s resources to be more responsive to the challenges of the times, “we believe that [the school] can still pursue the developments it planned without having to sell an inch of its valuable asset in exchange for grand, superfluous Development Perspective to look the best University on its 100th year on 2033 defined by the select few in Xavier U and its developer – Cebu Landmaster Inc.”