From: THE STAFF OF SINAG-CSSP, 2009-2010

The efforts to change the SINAG-CSSP Charter are both grounded on a critical review of current by-laws, as well as the problems that the publication persistently faces.

During the semester planning of the incumbent staff last October 2009, the following are the salient points of criticism regarding the current Charter:

On its Content
  • There must be a redefinition of principles. SINAG is a venue for student opinion, but it should also be a comprehensive, unbiased source of information regarding issues of interest to the CSSP students. It should also not be open to opportunities for advertisements or corporate sponsorships as these are contrary to the codes of campus journalism.
  • Offices, sections, duties and responsibilities should be defined. The only offices mentioned in the current Charter are those of the Editor-in-Chief and the Business Manager. Although it allows for a freedom of exercising editorial jurisdiction, this power is only enjoyed by the Editor-in-Chief. The current Charter does not define the duties and responsibilities of the Editor-in-Chief so as to protect his or her office from any abuse of power. In effect, acts of misconduct should be clearly and comprehensively defined.
  • In relation, the current Charter is deemed too centric on the Editor-in-Chief. The role and importance of the staff is demeaned as the Editor-in-Chief has the unbridled discretion to appoint or remove its members. There are no bilateral checks and balances either to make the Editor-in-Chief accountable to his or her own acts of negligence, prejudice, and corruption.
  • Given that the previously mentioned critique holds, the standards of Editor-in-Chief Selection is based solely on editorial knowledge and skills, not on administrative capabilities. Apart from editorial excellence, the proponents of the Charter believe that there must be prerequisites that would ensure mismanagement of the publication would be avoided.
  • The publication should not be constrained from doing its work because its funding was unable to adjust to inflation and the dwindling college population. The stipulated P30 per student rate in the current Charter does not address this, as this only reflects the printing and presswork budget in 1989. There must be other actions besides calling for Charter change every time the SINAG-CSSP staff deems adjustments to its budget, provided it is still mandated by the publishers, the CSSP students.

‘Face-Value’ Criticisms
  • For easy reference, the articles should be given titles which describe its content. The current Charter has articles that are lengthy and of multiple ideas, which is unclear since they have no titles or sections.
  • The flow of the Charter should not only be coherent, but reflective of the priorities of SINAG-CSSP. It is ironic that the first function to be defined in the current Charter of the official student publication is that of the faculty adviser. The Board of Judges for the Editorial Examinations immediately proceeds.
  • The Charter should be sex-sensitive. It should not only address persons as “he.”

Having laid out the criticisms that can be derived from a review of the current Charter, let us now look at the problems that arose along the course of SINAG-CSSP’s history. These were based from available SINAG back-issues since 1988, and the firsthand experiences of some members of the incumbent staff:

  • The need to have adequate funding (last referendum held for the purpose of increasing the SINAG fee was in 1989, which stipulates it as P30/student)
  • The problem of succession, and the question of unconstitutional or legitimate filling of vacancy/ies in the staff and the office of Editor-in-Chief
  • The need for a Charter that promotes the interests of SINAG-CSSP’s publishers, the CSSP students (proposed by the staff headed by Editor-in-Chief Charisse Opulencia)
  • The need for measures that hold the SINAG-CSSP leadership accountable for mismanagement, dereliction of duties, and the use of power to promote vested interests (one instance of which led to the unconstitutional but deemed necessary appointment of 2007-2008 News Editor Jecel Censoro as Editor-in-Chief when the incumbent leadership failed to fulfill their duties)

In that, the drafters and proponents of the 2010 SINAG-CSSP Charter included provisions which reflect:

  • The definition of the rights, duties and responsibilities of the staff,
  • The definition of the Higher Editorial Board, which distributes the power of the Editor-in-chief, and balances the said office’s power in heading the staff,
  • The definition of sections of the publication and the offices of its respective editors,
  • The revision of the Editorial Exam which includes a one (1) year residency requirement to promote not merely editorial capabilities, but also familiarity to internal operations and presswork stress, trust of the incumbent staff, and sincerity of intent—all of which provide an edge and insurance to administrative capacity of the succeeding Editor-in-Chief, and also an additional percentage for the votes of an ad hoc committee randomly selected from the incumbent staff who are not part of the examination,
  • The institutionalization of the admissions exam which is open to all interested applicants to the publication, which is knowledge- and skills-based, contrary to the current Charter where appointment of staff is through the sole and unguided discretion of the Editor-in-Chief,
  • The inclusion of impeachment processes and professional reviews, which act as checks and balances to any member of the staff who has failed to fulfill his or her duties and responsibilities,
  • The permission to hold a student referendum instead of a complete Charter change process to increase its funding if deemed only absolutely necessary.

After exhaustive efforts by the drafters and proponents, or the incumbent staff, of this Charter, the time when SINAG-CSSP is to hold a referendum to finally revise its by-laws is drawing ever near.

Given this critical assessment and historical context, and after the student consultation held last February 25, WE ARE INVITING OUR PUBLISHERS (YES, THAT IS YOU, STUDENTS OF THE COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND PHILOSPHY) TO REVIEW BOTH OLD AND NEW CHARTERS AND SUBMIT THEIR COMMENTS. The SINAG-CSSP staff is open to them before they shall meet in a General Assembly on March 4, 2010, 5:30pm. The GA shall have in its agenda the evaluation of comments, the revision of the draft to adjust to comments it has deemed valid and appropriate, and the drafting of the final draft. The said document shall then be immediately made available to the public, along with the minutes of the said meeting.

THE REFERENDUM TO ADOPT THE NEW CHARTER IS TO BE HELD ON MARCH 9-12, 9am-4pm. CSSP students are invited to the booth to vote. The canvassing of votes shall be held immediately after the referendum concludes, and shall be witnessed by a representative from the Office of Student Affairs.

Visit the SINAG-CSSP website (http://sinag.co.nr) to view and review the Old and New Charters. You may send your comments to sinagcssp@gmail.com.

Yours truly,

The 2009-2010 SINAG-CSSP Staff