The 19th president of UP, Roman is the first woman to hold the post, and will see the University to its centennial in 2008.
Prior to the election, a rally in support of Roman was held at the Quezon Hall lobby participated in by UP Anakbayan, Stand UP, All UP Workers Union, with faculty members, students and members of the UPD community.
College of Business Administration Dean Erlinda S. Echanis informally announced to the group that Roman had won, 7-5. The announcement was met with cheers and great jubilation.
Speaking before the assembly, faculty regent Dr. Sergio S. Cao said the majority vote in favor of Roman was perhaps influenced by a message prepared and circulated to the BOR by UP President Francisco Nemenzo before the meeting. Initial election results from the November 15 BOR meeting produced a tie between Roman and former UP Alumni Association president and current ambassador to the United Kingdom Edgardo Espiritu. Urged by the assembly to share his message, Nemenzo deferred but Cao took on the task.
In his message entitled Statement on the Choice of My Successor, Nemenzo urged the BOR to break the tie now and elect a president and not “to prolong the deadlock until four of the current Regents are replaced.” Nemenzo stated that it was difficult to choose between two well-qualified candidates since Espiritu “is an old friend.” However, he said he could not allow “personal friendship and utang na loob” to color his judgment of who is best for UP; thus, he endorsed Roman.
“As chancellor of UP Diliman, Dr. Roman has amply demonstrated her capacity for academic leadership and management. She is well accepted in the UP community, not only in Diliman but also in other constituent universities,” Nemenzo wrote.
Several regents likewise addressed the assembly and congratulated Roman, namely Filemon Berba, Bai Fatima Sinsuat, Abraham Sarmiento and student regent Marco Dominic delos Reyes.
In her first public address as incoming UP president, Roman thanked the faculty, students, staff and other sectors of the UP constituency for their support. She hoped the assembly is not the first and last time the UPD constituents stand united for a cause. She said she considers it a very great honor to have been chosen to serve UP as its next president, and she will exert all efforts to meet the challenges ahead, particularly in seeking a bigger budget for the university.
In a related development, UPD will be a red-shirt day tomorrow, November 23, as faculty, students and staff will march to Malacañang to protest the P67 million cut in the UP budget. Roman has committed to support the march.