Recent news give claim to the allegations regarding a strained relationship between the University administration and the De La Salle University Parents of University Students Organization (PUSO). An email released by University Chancellor Dr. Robert Roleda announced the school’s decision to terminate their relations with PUSO, requesting the organization to vacate their office in Br. John Hall. After a meeting described by DLSU-PUSO President Atty. Dionisio Donato Garciano as a vehement and strenuous discussion, the administration elected for the total disbandment of PUSO. In exchange for the demobilized institution, the administration opted to establish Heart for Every and Any Rational Thinker in the University (HEART), a new organization for the parents of students of DLSU.
From the standpoint of PUSO
Atty. Garciano divulges that members of the now-defunct PUSO are still wondering what decisions of the organization encouraged the administration to end their partnership. “PUSO is independent from the University. Our central role is to ensure that the voices of parents of the students are heard by the administration, particularly issues that concern them,” Atty. Garciano asserts. He adds that as stakeholders of the University, it is the responsibility of PUSO members to constantly question the administration, anticipate possible issues, and determine what can be improved about decisions that will affect all members of the Lasallian community. In the past year alone, DLSU and PUSO have had vocal disagreements on issues such as the shift of the University Break from Friday to Monday and the constant tuition fee increase.
Despite recent events, PUSO has agreed to bow out of being an organization. “If the administration believes that the best way to eliminate the tension between the two parties is to renounce our organization and form a new one, then we concede. We only want what is best for our children,” Atty. Garciano discloses. He attests that currently, there is no bad blood between them and the administration. “We will fully support the ideals and visions of HEART, and offer assistance wherever needed,” he says.
DLSU with a HEART
The eradication of PUSO brought up the issue on the lack of representation of parents and guardians in the University. Roleda explains that this should not be a cause for worry, as HEART is more than ready to take over the responsibilities of PUSO in promoting parental involvement, addressing issues and concerns about Lasallian education, and working with the University in making its students “productive, responsible, and active members of society.” He shares that “the conceptualization of HEART has been in the works since the latter part of last year, and I can personally say that we’ve had enough time to prepare an effective organization that can serve both as an outlet for parents and guardians, and as a partner of the University in providing quality education for our students.”
Similar to PUSO, HEART’s main objective is also to encourage meaningful engagement among parents and guardians in the campus life. However, the two organizations are different with regard to their affiliation with the University. PUSO was an organization independent from the University, while HEART is an accredited and official association recognized by the DLSU administration. Roleda believes that this change is something that would help hasten the implementation of policies and programs for the betterment of the Lasallian community. However, he dispelled apprehensions about the accreditation of HEART being a way to silence criticisms against the administration. “Yes, of course, one cannot help but hope for the smooth implementation of policies and changes, but any rational person knows that this is not always possible. HEART was not created simply to be an obliging sector of the University. We are still very much open to criticism, to fruitful discussions, because after all, compromises must always be made to accommodate all sectors and stakeholders [of the University],” he explained.
HEART proudly presents their newly-developed relationship with DLSU. “Who wants to be alone in this world? I think no one does, that’s why we’re why we’re changing our affiliation with the University. DLSU needs a heart, and that heart is us,” Atty. Garciano said.
HEART will continue whatever operations PUSO left behind, but with the administration’s direct interventions. Moreover, HEART, being one with the administration, can no longer be the chair of the Multi-Sectoral Consultative Committee on Tuition and Fees (MSCCTF). Roleda explained that HEART has agreed to relinquish the chairman seat. Roleda further emphasizes on the main role of HEART, which is to be of parental guidance to the student body, in accordance with the parents they represent. This falls under the uninterrupted supervision of the administration, that both parties claim to be healthy and professional.