The University is no longer retaining its current Monday to Thursday schedule for regular classes.
The decision comes nine months after the proposal to move the University Break (U Break) from Friday to Monday, which was presented to the Lasallian community in a town hall meeting last June 10, was rejected.
The shift was explained to have sprouted due to an incident last March 2 which was announced by the Office of Student Affairs as confidential.
Scandals within the campus
An ID 113 Lasallian was allegedly caught red-handed with prohibited drugs inside his bag upon entering the Agno gate, coming from a bar around Taft. Officers from the Philippine National Police who investigated say that the student sold drugs within the Agno area before class. The DLSU Security Office obtained a quarter pound of drugs in his bag, and the student was immediately brought in for questioning.
The student initially insisted that the drugs were not his, and that it was just allegedly placed in his belongings. After countless negotiations, in which a probable suspension or expulsion might have occured, the student finally admitted to selling them to students during a certain Happy Thursday.
The LaSallian attempted to interview the student, however, he declined the request. According to the student, it would damage his reputation and jeopardize his business. “Lasallians are keen on getting their stuff, it would be a shame if I let my clients down. Besides, you know enough,” he explains.
According to Vice Chancellor of Academics (VCA) Dr. Robert Roleda, the proposal is intended to control the “excessive drinking” brought about on Thursday evenings, otherwise known as the Happy Thursday culture allegedly made famous by the Lasallian community.
A lot of reports from the Student Discipline and Formation Office claim multiple violations from Lasallians, particularly on carrying deadly weapons and inflicting physical injuries on any person, and committing gross acts of disrespect in words or in deed that tend to put the University or any administrator, faculty member, co-academic personnel, security guard, maintenance personnel, student, or visitor in ridicule or contempt.
University Chancellor Dr. Gerardo Janairo heightened the discussion, stating that at least once a month, the police notifies him of the misconduct of students during Thursday nights.
Students, faculty, staff, and other sectors of the University were vocal about being against the proposal, citing that the shift of the U Break would not necessarily solve the drinking problem.
Other concerns raised included the conflict of schedule with activities of University organizations on Friday mornings and afternoons, as well as the severe traffic on Friday nights.
Weeks later, the Academics Council revised the previous proposal to a five-day class week that arranges the schedule of classes into Monday-Wednesday, Tuesday-Thursday, and Wednesday-Friday time blocks. This proposal was yet again received negatively by students, as reflected in the survey #BreakNaTayo conducted by the University Student Government (USG).
From a total of 3,338 respondents recorded in a span of 48 hours, 95.06 percent were against the revised proposal.
Reactions from the Lasallian community
Jeffrey Cabangon (IV, CPE) expresses his disapproval of the sudden change in the U Break, stating that this would just be burdensome to majority of the students especially to those who commute every day.
“Sobrang hassle siya kasi like me, I go home to Paranaque everyday, which is medyo bearable naman since four days lang naman pasok ng La Salle. Pero yung gagawing Monday, grabe naman pahirap nun sa mga students,” he asserts. (It’s too hassle. Me, I go home to Paranaque everyday, which is somehow bearable because La Salle only has four days of classes. But when you’re going to move it to Monday, that will make it hard for the students.)
The proposal would also constitute less productive time on organization works, especially to those who are relatively active in their respective organizations. Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (JPIA) President Tereynz Mendoza (IV, BSA) argues that there are a lot of events and projects in JPIA, and supposedly having a day allotted for the responsibilities of being the head of the organization greatly helps in getting things done. However, moving the U Break would mean having less organizational activities.
Rose Cruz (III, AB-POM) explains that Friday breaks are useful for having organizational activities. “People go home pag-Fridays. Alangan naman na pupunta sila sa isang GA kung mas gusto nila umuwi dahil traffic. Hassle lang talaga kapag ganun, mawawalan ng participative members yung mga ibang orgs,” she expresses. (People go home on Fridays—as if they would go to general assemblies when they already want to go home due to the traffic. It’s just really a hassle.)
Students also express that the change of schedule will not stop the likelihood of drinking over the weekend. Louisa Santos (III, BS-LGL) shares, “As if naman mapipigilan kami kapag iinom. Kung gusto namin mag-inuman, gagawan namin ng paraan ‘yan. It’s not like the new U Break is gonna stop us from partying. I mean, buhay naman namin ‘to.” (You can’t stop us from drinking. If we want to drink, we will find a way. It’s not like the new U Break is going to stop us from partying. I mean, this is our life.)
History of drastic changes
It is not the first time the University implemented drastic changes to its schedule. On the third term of academic year (AY) 2007-2008, the University transitioned to a four-day schedule from a five-day schedule in view of the implementation of the Transformative Learning scheme institutionalized two years prior. The U Break, designated as a free time for all and a time when no make-up classes could be scheduled, was then moved to Fridays from 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm.
Four years later, at the start of AY 2011-2012, the U Break, which was then renamed the University Activity Period, was moved to Wednesdays from 2:40 to 5:50 pm, brought about by the change to a six-day schedule under the Rationalized Classroom Utilization (RCU) scheme. Classes were held from Mondays to Saturdays under the scheme.
In 2012, a survey conducted by the USG showed that out of 800 respondents, 87 percent were against the implementation of the RCU and the six-day schedule. Thus, the University reverted to a four-day schedule just a year after.
Since then, the University has followed its four-day schedule with U Break falling on Fridays, until this new proposal by the Academics Council resurfaced.