CSSP orgs clamor for more changes in Student Code

Organizations from the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) called for more changes in the 2009 Draft Code of Student Conduct at the CSSP College Assembly on August 24. In the summary of the position papers read by CSSP Student Council (SC) Councilor Gil Turingan at the assembly, the CSSPSC, UP Praxis and UP Aguman questioned the UP administration for drafting the student code without initial consultation from the students. All organizations called for student consultation in revising the draft and student representation in the review committee, composed of faculty members appointed by UP Diliman Chancellor Sergio Cao.

In response, Dr. Elizabeth Enriquez, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Review Committee Chair, said the review committee has been conducting consultations in revising provisions on freshmen recruitment, minimum membership requirement, the rights to tambayans and legal counsel.

“It’s just a draft, which means it could still be changed,” Enriquez said. Enriquez cited revisions the committee already made: cutting the minimum membership requirement for student organizations from 0.5% of the student population to 20 members, including officers; cutting the minimum residency of applicants from one year to one semester. Enriquez said the University Council, composed of faculty members appointed by Chancellor Sergio Cao, asked for input from students when it announced in 2006 that the student code will be reviewed.

Students cannot be part of the review committee, but they could participate through college assemblies conducted throughout UP, Enriquez said.

UP Association of Political Science Majors (UP APSM), UP Psychological Understanding for Growth and Distinction Society (UP Pugad Sayk), UP Aguman, UP Youth for Christ (UP YFC), Geographic Society of UP (GSUP), UP Psychology Society (UP PsychSoc), UP Kalipunan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Sosyolohiya (UP KMS), UP Kabataang Pilosopo Tasyo (UP KaPiTas) and UP Kasaysayan said having tambayans is a right.

UP KMS objected to the draft’s new criteria in awarding tambayans: priority according to number of activities and awards, with consideration to disciplinary offenses.

According to CSSP Dean Zosimo Lee, university facilities are limited and not every organization can avail of tambayans.

“Tambayans are a privilege, not a right,” he said.

In the assembly, CSSPSC said the draft should include a Bill of Rights for students and, along with UP Praxis, called for transparency in the draft’s review.

UP Praxis questioned the validity of the quantitative methodology used in forming the initial draft of the Student Code by researchers from the College of Mass Communication, who took a random sample of 150 students without accounting for their knowledge of the issue.

The organization argued for a qualitative methodology using only informed respondents. Enriquez said the committee said a qualitative inquiry cannot be as representative to the whole student population as a quantitative inquiry can.

A Bill of Rights for university students is also pending in Congress, Enriquez said. UP Pugad Sayk and UP LIKAS objected to the removal of lawyers for hearings in the new student disciplinary bodies proposed in the draft.

Enriquez said lawyers prolonged the disciplinary process which caused a backlog of cases in the current Student Disciplinary Tribunal. The draft allows lawyers to provide legal counsel but they cannot be present in the hearings.

In sum, 18 organizations submitted position papers about the 2009 Draft Code of Student Conduct, including: UP Political Society, UP BUKLOD CSSP, UP Lipunang Pangkasaysayan (LIKAS), UP Kalipunan para sa Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiyang Pilipino (KAPPP), UP Psychological Association (PsycA), UP Samahan sa Agham Pampulitika (SAPUL), CSSP Academic Circle (Acad Circle).

Other than Enriquez, the members of the review committee are: Prof. Rowena Daroy-Morales from the College of Law, Dean Rowena Christina Guevara of the College of Engineering, Zosimo Lee and Prof. Aurora Odette-Mendoza, Psychology Department chair.

Major features of the 2009 Draft are a declaration of the code’s principles called “Tatak UP”, harmony of provisions, clarification of violations and addition of new violations, rationalization of penalties, simplification of procedure for student disciplinary cases, introduction of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and same rules for fraternities, sororities, and organizations. Students can view the draft through the university’s official website.