Sec. 5 (2), Article XIV of the Constitution provides that “[a]cademic freedom shall be enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning.” Academic freedom accords an institution of higher learning the right to decide for itself its aims and objectives and how best to attain them. This constitutional provision is not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a grudging fashion. Certainly, the wide sphere of autonomy given to universities in the exercise of academic freedom extends to the right to confer academic honors. Thus, exercise of academic freedom grants the University the exclusive discretion to determine to whom among its graduates it shall confer academic recognition, based on its established standards. And the courts may not interfere with such exercise of discretion unless there is a clear showing that the University has arbitrarily and capriciously exercised its judgment. Unlike the UP Board of Regents that has the competence and expertise in granting honors to graduating students of the University, courts do not have the competence to constitute themselves as an Honor’s Committee and substitute their judgment for that of the University officials.
[ G.R. No. 161172, December 13, 2004 ]
NADINE ROSARIO M. MORALES, PETITIONER, VS. THE BOARD OF REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT.