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CSC appeals for mass promotion, suspension of academic term

Based on conducted surveys and gathered student grievances, the Council cited as the bases of their appeal the accessibility to stable internet, availability of learning resources, conduciveness of learning environment, health concerns, students’ safety, and financial problems.

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The University Central Student Council (CSC), along with the local student councils, submitted on April 17 a petition letter which calls for a mass promotion and the end of the current academic term.

“While we recognize the efforts of the University in ensuring that all academic goals are met, we remain firm with our belief that during these extraordinary times, the welfare of the whole community is of utmost priority,” CSC said in the statement.

Last April 8, the University issued an Institutional Continuity Plan during Extended and Post-Enhanced Community Quarantine which mandates the resumption of online classes amid the extension of enhanced community quarantine.

Based on conducted surveys and gathered student grievances, the Council cited as the bases of their appeal the accessibility to stable internet, availability of learning resources, conduciveness of learning environment, health concerns, students’ safety, and financial problems.

“From the given sets of concerns, we cannot deny the fact that this pandemic has affected a lot of families in more than one way,” CSC said.

“At this very moment, it would not be beneficial for the general population to be preoccupied with the burdens of formal academic learning which may later on also have repercussions on one’s mental or psychosocial health,” they added.

The student councils also urged the University administrators to “halt all forms of disciplinary actions given to students who are voicing out their concerns” as these complaints were only a manifestation of the student body’s demand for revisions in the continuity plan.

“In these extraordinary times, it will be of no help to give disciplinary measures to students who are calling for changes for the welfare of the student body,” CSC said. “Now is not the time for this.”

At the end of the statement, the student councils encouraged the entire student body to remain critical and prudent at the present time.

“Although we recognize the significance of free speech,” they said. “Freedom of speech, however, is not absolute. And like any human right, free speech carries with it responsibilities.”

“In the very essence of the existence of student councils, we are here to uphold your rights and welfare. Trust that your councils stand for what is right, honorable, just, and true,” they added.

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Faculty of Pharmacy grieves over loss of biochemistry pillar

The UST Faculty of Pharmacy (FoP) expressed their grief and condolences over the passing of one of the pillars of the Biochemistry Department, Asst. Prof. Peter C. Torres, MSc. 

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Photo courtesy of the University website

The UST Faculty of Pharmacy (FoP) expressed their grief and condolences over the passing of one of the pillars of the Biochemistry Department, Asst. Prof. Peter C. Torres, MSc. 

“Years you have spent in educating and helping your students reach their dreams to become professionals. Although you have departed from us physically, you will remain in all of our hearts forever,” the FoP student council said yesterday, June 4, in their official Twitter account.

Torres is regarded by his students as an “inspirational professor.” He died on June 3 at the age of 64. 

“All of these years wouldn’t go to waste as you have helped your students reach their goals to become professionals and develop their character that would be beneficial in the real-life setting,” the student council also said in their official Facebook page.

Former students of Torres also flocked online to mourn and express their sadness over his death.

“[H]e’s one of the professors that makes for a very interesting panel [during] defense… [H]e has a lot of questions that can test your knowledge,” Biochemistry graduate Lara Lumayag said.

One of his achievements in the academe was his election as one of the directors in the Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in November 2017. He worked with the organization for two years. Jayziel Khim Budino

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UST partners with Smart telco, distributes free pocket wifi

The Connectivity Assistance Program will benefit both students and faculty members who “may be in need of the gadget that provides much-needed ability to communicate and stay connected for academic activities.”

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

The University, in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications, will provide 5,000 Smart Bro Data and Pocket WiFi with 8GB of free data to students for next academic year, the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) announced, Monday, June 1. 

“UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P. spearheaded the Connectivity Assistance Program that is consistent with the University’s to enable students to succeed in the educative process by ensuring accessibility and flexibility in learning,” the press release reads. 

University of Santo Tomas Press ReleaseUST partners with PLDT/Smart for free pocket Wi-Fi for students

UST Office of Public Affairsさんの投稿 2020年6月1日月曜日

The first ever partnership with the telecommunication company and academic institution was initiated by the Faculty of Engineering and Institute of Information and Computer Sciences.

The Connectivity Assistance Program will benefit both students and faculty members who “may be in need of the gadget that provides much-needed ability to communicate and stay connected for academic activities.”

The University Rector’s program was supported by the Faculty of Engineering dean Philipina A. Marcelo, Ph.D and Institute of Information and Computing Sciences director Jerralyn T. Padua.

Two thousand students, according to Dean Marcelo, have already signed up for the program.

The distribution of the first 500 units started on May 16 via courier services and Dean Marcelo herself within Metro Manila, Cainta, and Bulacan areas, OPA said.

Last April, Thomasians brought in social media their complaints regarding the resumption of online classes, specifically the issue of internet connection and equipment availability.

The Central Student Council also submitted a petition letter to relay to the school administration the concerns of the students. Jayziel Khim Budino

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UST implements ‘enriched virtual mode’ next academic year; extends financial assistance

Rector Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., in a letter dated May 26, announced that the first term of the academic year will be facilitated through “Enriched Virtual Mode” in which instructors will employ both online and offline remote learning strategies.

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

The Office of the Rector urged everyone “to respond, cope, survive, and persist” as it sets to proceed with the upcoming Academic Year 2020-2021 through remote online and offline delivery of classes, Wednesday, May 27.

Rector Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., in a letter dated May 26, announced that the first term of the academic year will be facilitated through “Enriched Virtual Mode” in which instructors will employ both online and offline remote learning strategies.

“The University shall implement a mode of instruction rooted in the principles of communion and encounter, one that promotes dialogue and ensures accessibility and flexibility in learning,” Ang said regarding the plan to continue learning with the new guidelines.

“We shall optimize the expertise of our faculty, not only through team-teaching approaches, but through carefully planned combinations,” the letter also read.

Face-to-face mode of instruction will only be done once “allowed by government regulations, and shall be done with the strict implementation of public health standards for everyone’s safety.”

Financial assistance

The University further elaborated the plans to allocate financial assistance to its students struggling to continue education with school fees.

The letter stated: “[I]n consideration of the adverse economic impact… the University has taken the initiative to provide our students financial assistance.”

Some of the plans for the upcoming academic year include no tuition fee increase, adjustment of the table of fees, continuation of the scholarships granted during the second term of A.Y. 2019-2020 until the end of the year, and implementation of staggered payment schemes, among others.

Academic Year 2020-2021 is set to start this August 13, with the first term ending on December 18.

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