Former UP Pep Squad members boo coaches
At least 100 former members of the highly decorated University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad have asked the university to heed the calls of the resident members to immediately overhaul their coaching staff following allegations that they were being physically and financially abused by their current mentors.
In a joint statement issued on Saturday, the alumni stood by a recent report detailing how two Pep Squad coaches allegedly subjected the squad members to physical abuse and charged them exorbitant fees over seemingly mundane violations, ostensibly as disciplinary measures.
One of the coaches allegedly asked them to cough up arbitrary fees — with one instance reaching up to P150,000 — while the other often verbally abused them. Another assistant coach made students who were COVID-19 positive to still attend practices via Zoom.
Their accounts, published in a two-part report in the Philippine Collegian and Tinig ng Plaridel on July 20, “was an accurate representation of many of our shared experiences,” the alumni said.
When the campus journalists sought the coaches for comment, one of them merely said they preferred to clarify the issue “directly with our team … All of us coaches are trying our best to heal and extending efforts to rehabilitate.”
Among others, the alumni urged the university to have a complete coaching overhaul to spare the members from retaliation and future abuse.
“We believe that the current coaching staff is no longer fit to continue to coach the team, nor do they represent the values of the university: honor and excellence,” they said.
They also asked UP to consider changing the team’s structure and system to establish checks and balances, especially in their finances and management.
The alumni statement came after the university’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA) sought to downplay the reports and said it “misrepresented [and] preempted” the steps UP was taking to rehabilitate the coaches and the most decorated pep team in the UAAP.
Supposedly, the university was already taking steps to stage a proper dialogue between the students and the coaches to “improve understanding and trust.”
However, the students’ report already detailed how the pep squad members themselves saw slow action from the OVCSA, which knew about the alleged abuse for months but sat too long on making a final decision on the complaint they filed against the coaches.
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