UP business dean academically incompetent

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I thought I had written enough about the shameless and stupid renaming of the University of the Philippines’ College of Business Administration after Marcos’ top technocrat Cesar Virata.

But then the college’s Dean, Ben Paul Guiterrez, who spearheaded the move for the renaming, had his letter published in the internet edition of this newspaper, which reveals another serious problem with our national university.  (Editor’s note: The letter also came out in our print edition.)

How can UP have a college dean who clearly demonstrates either his utter academic incompetence or his complete subservience to Virata that he distorts facts?

In the academe, facts are sacred. Ph.D. dissertations are peppered with footnotes just for the author to prove that what he is asserting is an established fact.  An academic’s training is basically one of learning the discipline of establishing facts.  The cardinal sin of an academic is not plagiarism but claiming fallacies as facts.


As one of this justifications for asking the UP Regents to rename the college, Gutierrez claimed that even Harvard University’s business school is named after “a distinguished person”, that its official name is “George Baker Graduate School of Business of Harvard.”

When I wrote in my column (June 6, 2013) that there is no such thing as “George Baker School of Business”, Gutierrez sent a letter to our newspaper’s president to insist that the official name of the school is “Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, George F. Baker Foundation”. Note that he changed a bit the alleged name of the school.

Where did Gutierrez get that idea? Solely from a caption (posted in the school’s web archives) of a photograph of the 1927  dedication ceremonies for the Harvard Business School’s  new buildings which financial tycoon George F. Baker  funded with a grant of $5 million.  (Contrast that to Virata who donated nothing to the UP business college which was renamed after him.)

The caption read:  “The eighty-seven-year-old George F. Baker presented Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell with the keys to the School—officially named the ‘Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, George F. Baker Foundation’”

Gutierrez’ incompetence as an academic is that he took at face value a claim, that caption — which was erroneous. The keys were not to the business school, but to the building!  No other Harvard document or report says that that was the official name of Harvard’s business school.

Gutierrez could just have looked up original documents, such as President Lawrence’s 1927 letter thanking Baker for his donation, which noted that “the buildings will be identified as the George F. Baker Foundation.”  Not the school itself but only the buildings, which Baker funded to build, will carry his name.    I guess double-checking of purported information was not taught at Victoria University of Technology where Gutierrez got his Ph.D.

Only one building actually carries Baker’s name, and this houses the business school’s main library which was officially named George F. Baker Library.  (The other Baker building “Baker Hall” is named after a former dean.)

How much waste of time and effort really to convince an incompetent academic that he didn’t do his research properly!

It is as if somebody came up to you and insisted that the Philippines official name is Las Islas de la Filipinas or that the Ateneo University’s official name is Ateneo Municipal de Manila because he read captions on paintings in a museum saying so.

Only UP Dean Gutierrez in this entire planet insists that Harvard’s school of business is named after Baker.

I called a friend who is a Harvard professor (I had been in Harvard as a Nieman Foundation Fellow in 1988) to ask him about this, and he sounded so irritated: “Why don’t you just go to their website and its official name obviously would be there, won’t it? ”  Indeed, the website doesn’t have any “George Baker Graduate School of Business of Harvard,” but only Harvard Business School.

Tyra Banks HBS

Model-actress Tyra Banks showing off her certificate from Harvard Business School — not “George Baker School of Business Administration”.

The official name will be in its diploma, or it would be a fake diploma, right? Good thing model Tyra Banks boasted of her going through an HBS course (see photo). There it says plainly “Harvard Business School”. No George Baker.

But maybe, a full MBA diploma names the school differently?   I looked for one and it dentifies its Dean as Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration.  But no George F. Baker written anywhere there.

HBS diploma: No “George F. Baker”  also.

HBS diploma: No “George F. Baker” also.

But what does common sense requires for a simple fact-checking? Ask the institution itself what its name is!

Which I did, by emailing Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria, to ask him that question, even if I felt stupid doing so.  HBS’ Chief Communications Officer Brian Kenny responded, both in an email message and an attached document using the school’s official stationery:

“Per your query, we would like to inform you that ‘Harvard Business School’ is the official name of this institution and not ‘Graduate School of Business Administration, George F. Baker Foundation.’”

 

Email or call him, Dean Gutierrez, which you should have done in the first place,  if you weren’t such an incompetent academic, or didn’t twist facts in order to honor Marcos’ sham “Prime Minister”. His email is bkenny@hbs.edu, telephone 617-495-6336 and fax 617-496- 8180.

I can’t believe I had to go through all this just to prove to this [expletive deleted] what is an established fact, that everyone in the world academic community knows.

I can’t believe how [expletive deleted] this fellow is, and UP made him a dean of a college? Didn’t UP notice anything in this guy whose highest post in the private sector, achieved after six years, was “Product Specialist” of Colgate Palmolive?

In his letter, he insists that I was wrong to question his claim that the naming of business schools after a distinguished person is not widespread in US universities, and claimed that in his Internet search 54 percent are named after such persons.

This dean can’t even read right! What I wrote is that US business schools  — except for one exception — are named not just after “distinguished” persons but after such persons who donated huge sums of money to these schools or to their universities, as Baker did.

What’s wrong with UP? Is it full of [expletives deleted] now?

 

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

www.rigobertotiglao.com and www.trigger.ph

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23 Comments

  1. Placido Penitente on

    A little decency would be nice, Mr. Tiglao. You are too quick to judge Dean Ben Paul Gutierrez as incompetent, when the man has been through so much to earn the title.

    And to the other people, especially those who are not even from the college who are too quick to judge VSB and its students, why won’t you just mind your own business? If you’re not a student of VSB, then please, don’t waste our time. This is not supposed to be your problem. This is our problem, but you people are making a greater fuss about it, and it is totally uncalled for to judge even the students. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

  2. So what does this have to do with more serious problems that our university and its students are facing?

    • Placido Penitente on

      Exactly. These people are wasting everyone’s time, making a fuss about this mundane “issue”, when they’re not even the people affected by the change. Seriously, people. Mind your own business!
      If you’re not a student of VSB, then this is not your issue so stop over reacting!

  3. A more intriguing question is “How did Dean Gutierrez persuade the UP Board of Regent (BOR) to name the UP CBA in honor of Cesar Virata – in the process breaking a long-held UP tradition and possibly breaking the law as well?”.

    His strategy hinged on showing two situations:

    (a) That the naming of a business school after a distinguished person is “widespread” in American universities

    (b) That the most prestigious and renowned business school in America – the Harvard Business School (HBS) – is also named after an individual

    To prove his first assertion, Dean Gutierrez went to the internet and counted 333 American business schools – of which 179 are named after an individual. However, this represents only 53.8% of the schools – certainly not an “eye-popping” number that will persuade the BOR. To conceal this low percentage, Dean Gutierrez used the word “widespread” instead in his report to BOR. Unfortunately, this is clearly a distortion of fact. To designate “53.8%” as “widespread” is “disingenuous” at best and “misleading” at worst.

    On the second issue, Dean Gutierrez unfortunately shows his lack of rigorous research training and intellectual curiosity. His initial source for “George Baker Business School” came from the Harvard’s “library website”. However, the main HBS website does not mention George Baker. These conflicting facts should have aroused his curiosity to do further research or to contact HBS directly. The inclusion of the “George Baker Harvard Business School” in his proposal is inexcusable – and surprising as it is “common knowledge” that HBS is not named after George Baker.

    The whole renaming process to honor Cesar Virata is an indictment on Dean Gutierrez and the Board of Regent. It shows extremely sloppy research work, misleading statements and distortion of facts. This is very disappointing coming from a Dean of UP — I expected better from this venerable institution.

  4. The UP Board of Regents has reopened the discussion on the renaming of CBA to Cesar EA Virata School of Business. We are currently circulating a signature campaign to support the position paper that we are submitting for its rescindment. Our position is based on the following:

    1) Contrary to the contention of the Dean of the College of Business Administration in his letter to the Board of Regents dated 15 March 2013 that Cesar E.A. Virata is “an honorable public servant who has served as Secretary of Finance and Prime Minister of the Philippines,” Mr. Virata’s role as the Finance Minister and Prime Minister under the martial rule of Ferdinand E. Marcos makes him a leading accomplice during the years of autocratic rule in the country. He has never apologized for this service of “his lending his sterling reputation to deodorize the Marcos dictatorship.” (“Historical Revisionism”, Inquirer Editorial, June 14, 2013. http://opinion.inquirer.net/54599/historical-revisionism#ixzz2XtjjSDsg

    2) Such honor given to a top technocrat of the Marcos dictatorship brings dishonor to the 72 UP martyrs who offered their lives fighting the Marcos dictatorship and who were recognized by then UP President Emerlinda R. Roman in the Centennial Commemoration of the University with these words: “Giving service to the nation….is accepted by the UP community, but some of us did more – gave their lives to serve the nation and offered their lives for justice [and] peace They inspire us and give us hope for change in our lives. Today, we remember their extraordinary valor. Because of them, life is a little better for us all. To their families, please know that they are remembered [with] deepest respect and admiration.” : http://philippinereporter.com/2009/01/02/up-honors-alumni-who-died-for-motherland/#sthash.3YT3LCyB.dpuf

    3) The decision violates the Naming Policy approved by the Board of Regents on 29 August 2009 which does not include the renaming of academic units such as the College of Business Administration. The Naming Policy itself clarifies the conditions for the naming rights:
    “3. In naming a building, a structure, a street, a park or a place in the University after a natural or juridical person, the person so honored:
    3.1.1. must have exceptional or exemplary achievement in his/her field/profession, or significant contribution to the University or the Filipino people; and
    3.1.2. must have sterling reputation or could be looked upon as a role model of the youth.” (“UP Naming Rights Policy”, 28 August 2009, Board of Regent Meeting, UP Gazette-Jul-September 2009, http://osu.up.edu.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/3Q_Gazette_2009.pdf)
    It is obvious that Virata’s reputation as a loyal technocrat of the Marcos authoritarian role is far from sterling and he cannot be foisted as a “a role model of the youth.”
    4. The consultations and endorsements used by the Dean of the College of Business Administration were limited to the faculty, students, staff and alumni of the college. The renaming of an academic unit of the University after a person has no precedent and should not be the purview of the College of Business Administration alone. Again as the June 14, 2013 Inquirer Editorial stated: “Even assuming a bona fide consultation, this is one choice where there are stakeholders outside the college, namely, the other members of the UP community who have invested much of their lives fighting the Marcos dictatorship. If their sacrifices are about to be diluted, surely they are entitled to be heard on this issue.”

    PLEASE EMAIL YOUR SUPPORT OF THIS PETITION TO : 3rdupstaffregent@gmail.com

  5. We have a question of integrity here! this is very alarming for such a prestige institution! Congratulations to Mr. Tiglao! I commend your article!

  6. What is perplexing is why Dean Gutierrez would break a long-held UP tradition to honor of Virata – and in the process possibly breaking the law as well.

    Why would he risk his reputation and possibly his career?

    Virata was not just an “innocent bystander” or “technocrat” – he was the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, and a cabinet member. He had as much influence and responsibility as Fabian Ver and Juan Ponce Enrile.

    What is so troubling is that Dean Gutierrez was a “martial law baby” – having spent his entire formative years during martial law. He graduated from UP in 1984 – just one year after the assassination of Aquino. The martial law era is not just a textbook chapter for him – he actually lived it. He certainly must have read or heard about Camp Crame, the massive graft and corruption, the human rights abuses, and the killing of political enemies.

    So why did he do it? Bakit ba?

    It couldn’t have been Virata’s record as Finance Minister – where the Philippines recorded a dismal 3.4% GDP growth rate – compared to Singapore (7.7%), Indonesia (5.7%) and Malaysia (5.5%).

    It couldn’t have been the whooping 29% underemployment rate.

    Nor could it be the foreign debt that went from $300M to $30B – making RP one of the most indebted nations on earth.

    There is clearly no justification at all for honoring Cesar Virata. It is very disappointing and disconcerting that this venerable institution that was once the beacon of freedom and human rights would turn 180 degree and now honor one of the architects of Marcos’ martial law regime.

  7. bobby brillante on

    As a victim of Martial Law and the Marcos dictatorship, I must admit I am biased against Cesar Virata or anyone who was part in the dismantling of our then infantile democratic institutions. Naming a business school in a state university after a person who helped Marcos build crony-capitalism and ruin our economy is something that concerns not only UP Collegians but Filipino taxpayers as well.

    The incompetence of UP Business School Dean Ben Paul Gutierrez and his failure to support factual information should not have escaped the attention of the UP Board of Regents and its President. Allowing the name of Virata to remain in the UP Business School would be a disgrace not just to UP but to the entire freedom loving nation.

    The only decent thing to do is for Dean Gutierrez is to resign and for Mr. Virata to initiate the efforts to rectify the error by asking UP to withdraw his name from the Business School.

  8. Dean Gutierrez should have invoked other reputable business schools named after persons to support his action. Tiglao just capitalised on the weakness of the dean’s reliance on one school’s example.

    • Check out my previous columns on this issue. Other reputable business schools are named not just after ‘distinguished’ persons, but after tycoons who donated huge sums of money to the shcool’s universitiy or the school itself, the biggest of which donated $100 million.
      Ateneo’s John Gokongwei School of Management was named such after the tycoon donated P250 M while La Salle’s Ramon del Rosario School of Management was named since the del Rosario family has been donating up to P400 M not only to the business school but to La Salle’s other projects.

  9. Is it really Dean Guitierrez’s original idea to rename the UP CBA? Why did the Board of Regents (BOR) approved the Dean’s recommendation without serious thoughts and debate? And why is the UP President silent on this very important issue?

    I think the first question for the BOR to settle is: Is it proper for UP to name a college, school or institute after a person? Assuming the answer is Yes, which I don’t agree in principle. Then, the next question is: What are the qualifications or accomplishments or under what circumstances such distinction would be bestowed to such person?

    Remember, this is the first time that a college of UP has been named after a person so strict guidelines should have been first agreed upon.

  10. Mr. Tiglao, you should also make in-depth researches before publishing your works. You should cite as many references as possible.

    • Thank you for your comment. Please see embedded links which we have just highlighted and contact information of HBS Communications Office.

  11. Your article against Mr.Virata,is so biased,you are using the media to demean Mr.Virata,it happens he is a Marcos Era man,so what,,wake up Bobbi,,after Marcos ,is our country better? All the administrations after Marcos are run by people that were discarded by Mr.Marcos,did the country improve? Look around you,we are enjoying the infrastructures,facilities,institutions built during that time.You are a gifted writer,be constructive and not be BIASED.Why are you not writing articles about the ills of your benefactor President Arroyo.

    Greenrock668@gmail.com

    • We could have been a much better country if Marcos just adhered to his legitimate term of office. And our democratic institutions have been left intact and most likely been enhanced.

    • So many “could have beens” and “would have beens”. Let us see. Had Marcos adhered to his legitimate term, Ninoy Aquino would have been our President. Sayang, di ba? But how would he have fared as President? We will never know of course but we could speculate. For me, knowing now his secret connections with the Communist movement and his friendships with JoMa Sison and Kumander Dante, frankly I shudder. I also have a long list of “could have beens” starting from here but it is an exercise in futility. We can’t go back in time can we?

  12. I wish you also had an idea why he did such an act aside from, well, his shameful stupidity. Istorya sa likod ng istorya, baga.

  13. rico santiago on

    Mr. Rigoberto Tiglao, the way you write gives us detailed information to learn and have fun reading it like (expletive deleted)….”product specialist of Colgate Palmoline”,
    Victoria University ofTechnology, Cezar Virata never donated any money to UPschool of business, and you disagree?. Sir Tiglao, I agree with you.

  14. I wonder how can the Dean wiggle out of this embarassing position. Your article, replete with facts, completely demolished his arguments.

    Way to go Bobi !

  15. This is so sad… Dean of University of the Philippines??? Calling ALL UP Business students, I beg you to please boot Dean “can’t even read right” Gutierrez IMMEDIATELY to preserve the school’s good reputation.

  16. There is a saying: fool me once, shame of you — fool me twice, shame on me.

    And that’s what so disappointing about the whole situation. Dean Gutierrez was given the opportunity to correct an initial oversight – but he responded by repeating the same mistake. As Mr. Tiglao pointed out, a short email to Harvard or even a quick phone call to an alumnus would have resolved the issue. I expected better Dean Gutierrez.

    The whole UP situation is a sad commentary of our country. By honoring Cesar Virata, we are just perpetuating this darkest chapter of our nation’s history. As the saying goes, “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”.

    With the 2016 election coming up, I have this very uneasy feeling that we are about to have another Marcos in Malacanang very soon.