Preserve the Heritage Campus of Xavier University

Preserve the Heritage Campus of Xavier University

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Why this petition matters

        We, the Concerned Parents, Teachers, Alumni and Communities (COPTAC) of Xavier University, express our full support for the preservation of the Heritage Campus of Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan). Altogether, the sixteen major buildings on the 6.3-hectare downtown campus, integrated with the permanent structures on the 64-hectare Manresa campus actually constitute the ongoing development of the “Campus of the Future”. This comprises the entire downtown campus and the developed portion of Manresa, which includes the SEARSOLIN Training Center, the Manresa Retreat an d Recollection Center, and the Jesuit Cemetery.

        Other than the reasons already clearly stated in the petition, COPTAC also raises the important serious issues on the economics of the deal (is it really a good deal that will help XU, or more for the benefit of CLI?), environmental impact, worsening traffic situation, increasing costs and time for future students to go up and down the Manresa campus (instead of having their studies at the  priceless, beautiful Main Campus), and it looks like in the planned design of the deal, the commercial aspect will   overshadow the educational image of the XU. The XU-CLI agreement was a "done deal", lutong macaw. No wide and  deep consultations were done with community stakeholders. There was no transparency from the very beginning until today. Only limited time presentations were done after the deal was made  to appear as "consultations" to elected audiences. All the above sound unlike a Jesuit Ignatian way to have proper discernment.


Concerned Parents, Teachers, Alumni and Communities Against the Sale of  Xavier Campus (COPTAC)


Please add your name to our petition:

 1) Signify your name (below)                                                         2) Give your Year/Course graduated in XU (below)                     3) Give Contact numbers/s and email adds. (below)               4) You may also give your comments, if any (below)

For further information:

1) Please access the Full Statement of COPTAC at COPTAC Website                                                                                                 2) Access the Webinar “XU Heritage Buildings in You Tube"


Concerned Parents, Teachers, Alumni and Communities Against the Sale of  Xavier Campus (COPTAC)

        We urge the Society of Jesus (Philippine Province) and Cebu Landmasters, Inc. to reconsider its agreement to build an entirely new campus at the cost of demolishing practically all the present structures (with some exceptions) and relinquishing the prime property sites of XU.  Three principal factors should be considered.

I.                CULTURAL HERITAGE:  We are glad to hear that XU officials have agreed to preserve several buildings on the downtown campus as Cultural Heritage sites after the visit of a team from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in March 2022.  However, we maintain that the entire integrated campus — downtown and in Manresa — should be considered as a living and developing Cultural Heritage of Cagayan de Oro.  This memorializes and builds on the pioneering efforts of past Jesuits and countless lay mentors.  Antiquity should not be the only basis for recognizing cultural heritage; rather the continuing impact of a prime educational institution should be taken into account, especially as it approaches its first centenary in the year 2033.  

II.              INCREASED BUILDING AND LAND COSTS:  Due to the war in Eastern Europe, fuel prices and costs of construction materials have markedly increased.  This renders the earlier budget estimates for CLI to develop an entirely new campus with replacement buildings on a 21 hectare campus in Manresa unrealistic and

III.            impractical.  Fluctuations in land prices also indicate that XU may be greatly shortchanged under the present provisions of the agreement.  With spiraling prices, the valuation of the present permanent buildings and current land prices could go well beyond the replacement value that CLI earlier anticipated.  

        We have also not seen the detailed plans of the proposed replacement structures. The mock designs of modern high-rise buildings may actually mean enclosed spaces needing costly air-conditioning and more elevators, in contrast to the environment-friendly buildings already in place.

IV.  LACK OF A SYNODAL PROCESS:  Ever since the XU-CLI agreement was first announced in July 2019, we have maintained that there were no formal prior consultations of past XU university presidents, mentors and alumni.  The “consultations” made after the decision was announced were more in the form of presentations of plans already decided upon.  (When he was privately consulted in October 2018, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, had advised the university president to conduct consultations, but over the next nine months, no public consultations were held.). 

        Despite Pope Francis’ call for the Synodal process in all church parishes and institutions, XU officials have never engaged COPTAC representatives in a sincere, listening dialogue among concerned stakeholders.  This, it seems to us, is contrary to the Jesuit manner of proceeding for an academic community that involves several generations of mentors and alumni/ae as stakeholders.   We have also requested for a copy of the reply from Rome regarding the XU-CLI deal, but we were not furnished this.  We sincerely feel that even authorities in Rome would have favored a wider consultation process of all academic sectors, including alumni and former mentors.

        We, therefore, reiterate our call to preserve the present heritage buildings of Xavier University in the downtown-Manresa integrated campus.  Let CLI procure and develop some of the vacant spaces in Manresa for its commercial interests, but preserve what has already been built in Manresa.  These were made possible by donors like Misereor and COCOFED as permanent contributions to the outreach and spiritual goals of the university’s mission.  The Jesuit cemetery in particular should be respected as hallowed ground for the remains of many Jesuit pioneers in the building up of the university.


Concerned Parents, Teachers, Alumni and Communities Against the Sale of  Xavier Campus (COPTAC)

        In summary, we feel that the creation of an entirely new campus is not necessary.  No detailed studies were presented in the first place.  There were no major complaints from students and faculty regarding the present campus.  There was no felt need for a new campus.

       It is not beneficial.  Observers point out that there will be more traffic problems going up to the Manresa campus due to a bottleneck portion of the access road.  Moreover, it would be less accessible to students coming from other parts of the city.  Indeed, college student enrollment figures indicate a declining trend over the past two decades that does not warrant the need for a new campus.  (Appendix A)

       And it is not practical, due to the marked increase in construction costs, and the time and effort needed to demolish more than a dozen solidly-constructed buildings — only to be replaced by other buildings whose detailed designs are still to be made.  Would the planned move to a new campus not be seen as a sign of “institutional hubris” that cannot be justified under present circumstances?

       With due respect to the current officials of XU and officers of CLI, we ask for a sincere dialogue process to listen carefully to each other’s views.  On our part, we present this appeal:  to preserve what has already been painstakingly developed by past Jesuit and lay mentors and to build on this as the veritable Campus of the Future.  The memorials of the past are the vibrant signs of a continuing tradition of excellence for Xavier University at the service of Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao.


(SGD) DR. ANSELMO B. MERCADO                                                   COPTAC  President                                                                          May 16, 2022

(SGD) MS. RO-ANN A. BACAL                                                             1st Vice President                                                                           May 16, 2022

(SGD) MS. GEMMA P. VELASCO                                                           2nd Vice President                                                                            May 16, 2022

789 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!