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HomeBusinessAGAINST THE SALE OF XAVIER UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

AGAINST THE SALE OF XAVIER UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera
Concerned Parents, Teachers, Alumni & Communities

With a firm collective intent, the Concerned Parents, Teachers, Alumni & Communities (COPTAC) are opposing the sale of the 6.3 hectares of the downtown main campus plus the 14 hectares of the developed Manresa campus. As an alumnus of Xavier University having finished my elementary (Grade 7), high school, college degree (BS Agriculture) and Post Graduate (law degree) in my beloved University, I cannot help but feel so much pain at the thought that Xavier University may be sacrificing its living cultural heritage to an image of commercialism.

If that were the case, the Study of Oxfam is indeed correct which concluded, “high veneration to the profit-motive has already captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and even of religious groups. Because humanity is now buried in unbridled consumerism and materialism, there is so much denigration of spirituality.”

The contemporaneous development paradigm has prioritized profit over Mother Earth and the people. Thousands of concerned scientists and environmentalists world-wide have categorically warned that “humanity is now in the precipice of its 6 th extinction that is man-made. And yet, there continues to be climate-change deniers, many are politicians and people in leadership positions. I would like to believe that XU is on the side of Mother Earth, but with the plan of XU and Cebu Landmasters for Manresa, I am beginning to have doubts as to where XU stands.

Ecological conservation counters climate change. The agricultural spaces in Manresa contribute to ecological conservation needed by the city for open and wooded areas.

Millions of species in our planet are becoming extinct, and the plans for Manresa would contribute to this extinction and to the destruction of the species’ habitat. As stated in the COPTAC Paper, “An earlier study made by visiting Jesuit scholastic from Malaysia indicated 40 species of birds identified in the Manresa area. The community of Barangay Balulang situated at the foot of Manresa ridge has expressed their objection to the proposed development in Manresa because of the uncontrolled flooding already experienced by them during heavy rains.”

I have learned in my days at XU that it stands for the transformation of people who are kind to the planet while working for prosperity and peace. It has been inculcated in me that commercialism has never been XU’s priority.

In underscoring the importance and noble undertaking of Xavier University, may I share a poem of Thomas Gray entitled, “An Elegy Written in a County Churchyard.” I learned this poem from Fr. Francis Calputura, S.J., my High School teacher.

The poem’s 12 th stanza says: “Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid, Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d, Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.”

Thomas Gray has underscored that when a dead person is laid to rest, had the heart felt that “celestial fire” of love? Had he developed kingly qualities that could have served a community? Had he used his creativity to influence/entertain like a light illuminating darkness?

As emphasized by my priest-teacher, the number one asset in the universe is not wealth, fame or power, as no less than King Solomon in the Old Testament, pronounced that these are “meaningless, utterly meaningless.” The most important asset/capital is the human being and the development of the human potentials is of utmost importance.

All these years, Xavier University has propelled us to greater heights of love and service. I dream that it would continue to do so for years and years into the future in a world that is in constant change. It is tempting to meet the challenges of being an excellent university by amassing as much wealth as possible, through commercialization of XU’s assets.

COPTAC has pointed out that this is being done without regard for what Xavier stands for. This lack of respect is demonstrated by the unceremonious digging up of the burial ground in Manresa, where our Jesuit professors, mentors, and indeed, the pillars of Xavier University, including Fr. William Masterson and Fr. Francis Madigan, were laid to rest.

I urge Xavier University to re-examine or, if need be, to terminate, its plans with Cebu Landmasters, and listen to the concerns expressed by its alumni. We love Xavier, we have ideas, and we can help in drawing up alternative plans for its future.

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