UP has always been known for its high involvement in national, political, and economic undertakings. One of the concrete manifestations of this involvement is the practice of activism within its bounds, which is a characteristic often associated with UP. It is even said that the university’s student political affairs may well be deemed as a microcosm of national politics (Abinales, 1992). Its standing as a leading academic foundation of the country earned its activism dynamics a national significance.
- 1950s: A faction formed between UP’s two major activist forces, the Greek-lettered fraternities and the Catholic group associated with the UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) (Abinales, 1992).
- “From the time I entered UP in 1956 up to 1959, there was mass apathy among the students.” (Sison, 2008)
- 1959: The Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP) was organized with cultural nationalism as their battle cry.
- 1962: Students showed their disapproval of the appointment of Carlos P. Romulo as UP President through demonstrations and counter-demonstrations led by the Student Union and the UPSCA, respectively (Epistola, 1985).
- Mid-1960s, “Americanization” of the University was a big issue. The SCAUP, Kabataang Makabayan (KM), and University Student Council (USC) took the lead in protesting.
- 1968: Katipunang Makabansa, Kalayaan, Pagkakaisa, Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK), SCAUP, and KM and Partisans together with the USC and the Philippine Collegian staff were among the organizations in UP Diliman actively participated in mass protests (Epistola, 1985).
- Before Romulo left his position as President, he asserted that student activism and faculty dissent were “in themselves important, for without them, the University of the Philippines would be nothing.” (Epistola, 1985).
- Students got more involved in matters concerning other members of Philippine society such as the laborers, farmers, etc.
- 1971: During the gasoline price hike a 2 day blockade through barricades was organized by students in the University Avenue. Within the barricades were teach-ins and mass meetings. (Evangelista, 1985).
- Salvador Lopez, an ardent activist and UP President during the Marcos time, had emulated the current democratic procedures that the university is supposed to employ – “student autonomy in handling its affairs, appointments of student regents, faculty participation through “democratic consultation” in selections of department chairs and college deans, etc.” (Dalisay, 2009).
- 1970s: The heated and bloody encounter between the military and the protesters, that left hundreds injured and four students dead of gunshot wounds ignited the fire of the First Quarter Storm—a turning point in Philippine History. (Ocampo, 2012).