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CSC president clarifies University hair policies

Robert Dominic Gonzales, the incumbent CSC president, noted the vagueness of the provision in the student guidelines, hence the decision of the administration to clarify the said rule.

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Veronica Besario/TomasinoWeb

After garnering varied reactions from students, the University’s Central Student Council (CSC) president explained the clarification of guidelines regarding hair color and hair cut.

Robert Dominic Gonzales, the incumbent CSC president, noted the vagueness of the provision in the student guidelines, hence the decision of the administration to clarify the said rule.

“Nakalagay lang kasi dito ‘students’ hairstyle should be clean, combed and neatly trimmed or fixed. Unconventional hair colors are not permitted,’” Gonzales said quoting from the student’s handbook.

It was the clamor from the students and college deans alike that they sought to draw the line between conventional and unconventional hair colors.

“Basically, there were a lot of clamors from the past few years regarding sa portion dito about unconventional hair colors. So this year they sought to clarify the matters kung ano ba talaga ang tinutukoy na unconventional,” Gonzales expressed.

He reiterated: “When this handbook was released, they did not post any color palette or color shades of those unconventional hair colors.”

He also emphasized that the decision came from the college deans themselves, elaborating: “Majority if I’m not mistaken of the deans voted for the conventional hair colors which was released recently. Yung mga darkest black to darkest brown.”

When asked whether he’s for or against the said policy, Gonzales stated that such rule has no relationship with the students’s academic standing.

“With regards naman if we’re pro or against it, of course, personally speaking, it’s about personally expressing yourself ganoon I’m against the hair policy,” he said.
He further added, “For me, it has no direct relationship whatsoever with the academic performance ng tao.”

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Students’ reactions

Meanwhile, this implementation of policy gained varied responses and backlash among the students of the University.

For a student from College of Science, it has been a matter of students subjecting themselves in following institutional guidelines upon enrolling to the university.

“Kasi like kahit ako, I want to color my hair din pero kasi at the same time sinabi ko na sa sarili ko na UST ‘to alam kong medyo hindi nila bet ‘yun, so kumbaga I mentally prepared myself for it like ‘di na ako nag-expect masyado from them,” the student stated.

However, Arts and Letters student Gwen Forones questioned the implementation of the policy, saying “[I don’t know] what are they trying to prove in implementing similar cases just like this when in fact hair color does not hinder academic standing and competence.”

She further added: “[H]indi ba sa panahon ngayon, it is more reliable to pay attention on building students’ drive and character rather than nitpicking their appearances.”

Forones also took a swipe on the conflicted priorities of the system, saying “[O]ur education system seems to be persistent in promoting personal growth.”
She elaborated, “and yet they keep on implementing a policy which restrains the students’ rights to express themselves without causing any harm.”

On a circular dated Feb. 19, the Office of the Secretary-General released a clarificatory announcement regarding acceptable hair style and colors to its students.

According to the guideline addressed to the University administrators, students must be limited to the prescribed spectrum of colors from Level 1 (darkest black) to Level 5 (dark brown).

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Filipino environmental advocates demand for ‘better normal’

Filipino youth advocates on climate change and various environmental organizations on Wednesday, Sept. 23, demanded a “better normal” to put everyone, and the environment in front.

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Filipino youth advocates on climate change and various environmental organizations on Wednesday, Sept. 23, demanded a “better normal” to put everyone, and the environment in front.

“As youth leaders, as young people, we have been active in different forms of advocacy work to forward our legitimate concerns on government policies, but particularly those related to environment and climate, and to those policies that will directly affect us,” said youth representative Jeff Estela during the online press conference.

Estela stressed the recent suppression of the freedom of speech, following the passage of the Anti-Terror Law.

Last July, youth environmental activist Greta Thunberg called to repeal the said law, citing that it equates environmental activism with terrorist activities.

“With the current move and actions of the government, this can be used to intensify the intimidation, fear-mongering, and the present attacks on the environmental defenders and advocates,” Estela said.

Environmental lawyer and activist Atty. Antonio La Viña emphasized the need of the youth to make strong demands, and to take direct action to appeal to the decision makers.

“I think the time now is to be really radical about the solutions,” he said.

La Viña highlighted the benefit of listening to indigenous people, as it will prevent further damage in nature such as the construction of Kaliwa Dam.

Yung climate change is not about carbon. It is not about emissions, ‘di ba? It’s not about markets. It’s on people,” he said. “Tao. Lalo na mahihirap.

Transition of renewable energy, according to La Viña, produces sustainable and cheap energy for everyone.

“Renewable energy is the future, the economics are there for it, and we just have to take very strong action to go to the transition very close to energy,” he said.

The online press conference, “National Youth Demands: Youth Declaration for Climate Justice,” with the theme “Para sa Klimabukasan,” was organized by Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines in solidarity with global movements inspired by Thunberg. Vhey Dela Cruz Tapia

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‘Democratic spaces shrink amid COVID-19 pandemic’—PhilRights exec

Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) executive director expressed concern over reduction of civic and democratic spaces in the country as an effect of the “worsening spate” of extra-judicial killings amid COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Photo grabbed from the official Facebook page of UST Simbahayan

Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) executive director expressed concern over reduction of civic and democratic spaces in the country as an effect of the “worsening spate” of extra-judicial killings amid COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Transparency and accountability are not government priorities. A culture of impunity continues to be perpetuated by the government,” PhilRights Executive Director Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan said. 

Simbulan, who is also the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of UP Manila, emphasized that passing the Anti-Terror Law of 2020 and lowering the age of criminal liability are “anti-people policies” propagated by the government’s legal apparatus. 

“Part of the efforts of the government to discourage protest actions, political actions intended to call the attention of the government to policies and programs that are anti-people is the framing of civic participation as a destabilizing force,” she said.

Duterte’s core principle of governance

Simbulan condemned the blatant red-tagging of democrative defenders and government critics that recently claimed the lives of Randall Echanis and Zara Alvarez, further highlighting the 2019 Global Peace Index which placed the Philippines as the second least peaceful country in the Asia-Pacific. 

She noted that the government playbook normalizes violence as there are efforts being undertaken by the administration to “make people accept violence” as part of their daily lives.

“President Duterte’s core principle of governance is violence, and even the international community has not failed to recognize this,” Simbulan said. 

However, Simbulan said that there are “glimmers of hope” in different forms of resistance such as continued mobilizations, documentations, and lobbying of petitions in Congress and Supreme Court. 

The webinar titled, “Francisco de Vitoria Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao” was spearheaded by the UST – Simbahayan Community Development Program as a part of the annual human rights activities series every September.

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CSC welcomes interim officers

The University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council (UST-CSC) announced on Sunday, Sept. 13, the new set of interim officers in Central Board for the academic year (AY) 2020-2021.

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Photo courtesy of Hector Armando Sarion, Carl Christian Lumberio, and Montgomery Alexander Tan

The University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council (UST-CSC) announced on Sunday, Sept. 13, the new set of interim officers in the Central Board for the academic year (AY) 2020-2021.

CSC acknowledged three new faces in provisionally handling the position of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Secretary-General.

On May 21, The University’s Commision on Elections postponed both local and central student council elections for the AY 2020-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their resolution declared all non-graduating incumbent officers as interim officers until elections are rescheduled. 

Hector Armando Sarion from the College of Education Student Council was elected as the Interim Speaker, Carl Christian Lumberio from the College of Commerce and Business Administration Student Council as the Interim Deputy Speaker, and Montgomery Alexander Tan from the Accountancy Student Council as the Secretary-General.

In an interview with TomasinoWeb, Sarion said that one of the challenges he expects during his term as the Interim Speaker is the gap that online classes create for the Thomasian students.

“[I]t’s not just a matter of internet connectivity, but also the inclusivity and accommodation of the diverse learners in our university. It’s the main call that we leave no student left behind,” Sarion said.

Sarion also said that the new CSC will continue the projects concerning the University’s Student Code.

“[W]e would always do our very best on having updates from the officials and progress back from the past academic year wherein we had meetings concerning the students’ code,” Sarion stated.

In addressing the challenges of online classes, Lumberio said that the approach must be “get and about,” in which the officials would engage with the student body and take the time to assess issues and problems.

“The key lies in making a more conscious effort to be present, that there is someone who will be pertinacious in standing firm in upholding and protecting the rights and welfare of the whole Thomasian Community,” Lumberio told TomasinoWeb.

For Tan, prompt assistance to every student is one of his leadership agendas.

“One of my plans for our term is the ‘Students’ Help Desk.’ Based on my observation, a lot of students are having a hard time reaching the different UST offices for their urgent concerns,” Tan said.

According to Tan, he wants the students to feel his leadership despite the pandemic.

“It has always been my motto that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ I will not promise empty words but rather bring about results that will eventually benefit the whole community,” Tan said. “Therefore, I want the studentry to feel my leadership through my actions and results.”

Sarion, Lomberio, and Tan succeeded Lady Freyja Gascon, Lorenzo Gabriel Banayo, and Sean Matthew Sison respectively.

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