University STC students cry for independence
University STC students cry for independence
STC students cry for independence
April 19, 2013
April 19, 2013

“We may be La Salle, but DLSU-STC is NOT and will NEVER be DLSU-M!”

The red slogan stood out on the walls and the trampled pickets and tarpaulins that littered the De La Salle University Science and Technology Complex (DLSU-STC) grounds, remnants of a series of student protests that began noontime last April 5.

Several hundred college students were reported deserting their classrooms to gather at the entrance of the Milagros del Rosario building, shouting and waving protest banners.

The furious spectacle greeted the stunned University Student Government (USG) Executive Board (EB) elects who were simply visiting to head a post-election general assembly to introduce next year’s EB.

It was merely a month ago when the EB candidates held a one-day campaign in DLSU-STC, when their audience was far from hostile. Several EB members likened it to a “Jekyll-Hyde transformation”. In line with the DLSU-STC merger, the USG EB, along with other DLSU student and administrative offices, will integrate over the Canlubang campus.

 

No space for hand-holding, no space for freedom

According to ralliers, the protest was initially fueled by circulating rumors regarding the integration of the University’s Handbook policies.

Unofficial sources contest that it began when an STC college student discovered an abandoned DLSU Handbook after the USG’s Miting de Avance held last March. It circulated among the college blocks where it was paraded as the finalized Handbook for both campuses.

Attention then turned towards contentious provisions, especially regulations regarding how the University handles public displays of physical intimacy (PDPI).

In a previous interview with The LaSallian, former representative candidate for the STC Legislative Assembly Nin Talens (Santugon) explained that though DLSU considers PDPI a minor offense, DLSU-STC’s handbook classifies PDPI as a major offense. He says this is necessary because of their elementary and high school population.

“We’re starting to see students becoming more affectionate because they think it’s a minor offense,” asserts senior industrial engineering student Aliza de los Santos. “Affection!” she cries, “I have a younger brother in grade school. If he saw it, it would be a bad influence.”

The changing environment of DLSU-STC now began to raise alarm across its college body, who concluded that the integration may compromise their DLSC values.

“Now, girls are also coming to school in shorter skirts,” posits sophomore Maria Magdalena, a student rallier. In Filipino, Magdalena explains that the dress code policy discrepancies between the two campuses also need to be reconciled.

Raffy Garcia, an STC Communication Arts freshman, abstained from partaking in the rally. He believes that the integration will eventually be beneficial. “We’re getting free shuttle services and new facilities. Di ko gets yung problema. [I don’t understand the problem],” he says.

“Who’ll be prioritized?” Kristoffer Jan, another rallier is concerned on how the discrepancies will be addressed if they are now considered as DLSU. “And who knows if we’re unintentionally ignoring other more pressing conflicts, like what really is considered corporate attire under the new dress code? That may call for a wardrobe rehaul,” he furthers.

 

Disruptions

Witnesses described the demonstration as “rowdy”. A security guard reported that all he and his working partner could do was watch the crowd swarm the building’s entrance.

Dami ko na naman gagawin [I have a lot to do again],” mumbles Celia Pamorada, an exasperated janitor, rolling her eyes at the extensive mess she now has to clean every night.

Aside from the campus personnel, teachers and professors voiced out their frustration. “How am I going to teach my classes?” complains an industrial engineering professor in a mix of Filipino in English. “There are barely any students left in the classrooms.”

Elementary and high school teachers reported that their students are unable to focus with the ruckus transpiring in the background. “My students are naturally curious,” shares an elementary teacher in Filipino, “so from time to time they’ll look outside and copy the behavior. Sometimes it gets so loud that we can’t even hear ourselves.”

As of press time, the Integrated School Principal has declined to comment, although other sources claim that the principal is coordinating with the appropriate branches to ensure that order will be restored and return to the smooth function of the primary and secondary levels.

Despite growing complaints, entrepreneurship freshman Emma Lorenzo says that the protests may continue until the end of this week. Lorenzo believes that the rally plays an important role in reclaiming DLSU-STC’s independence.

 

Suspension?

Students who were involved in the demonstration may be faced with suspension, as stipulated in Sections 5.5.5 and 5.3.1.2 the Student Handbook.

In an interview with The LaSallian, DLSU President and Chancellor Br. Ricky Laguda FSC says that administrative action is still under deliberation.

“We, the administration, understand that the uprising in STC is a complex problem that may be worsened by purely legalistic treatment. In the first place, we’re talking about the majority of the college population; second, we strive to ensure that concerns from both sides will be heard this time.

“That is why we are hesitant to put forward any statements for the time being. For now, we are investigating damages to property and the solely responsible parties. Rest assured that we are holding emergency meetings with the integration committee and have reached out to the USG and the STCG (Science and Technology Complex Government).”

Nevertheless, Br. Ricky stresses that the protesters must stop further damaging University property. “We strongly discourage burning any chairs, and most especially the proliferation of graffiti messages. These are major offenses. Plus, the restorative paint costs quite a fortune. Our Lasallian colors are made-to-order,” he shares.

Surprisingly, USG President-elect Migi Moreno and STC Campus President-elect Nikka Ramos confirmed that the administration has already contacted them for a panel meeting with them, and representatives from the USG and STCG.

Ramos says that she is excited to report the good news to her stakeholders, the DLSU-STC student body, and may have to cut the weeklong protests short after all.