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Human rights advocates protest dismissal of progressive students

Several student councils and human rights groups urged the University administration on Sunday, Jan. 24, to uphold democratic rights after dismissing three students due to alleged involvement in “unrecognized organizations.”

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UST–Senior High School (SHS) Student Council representative Ruth Dizon (left) and Kabataan Partylist (KPL) –Katipunan Chairman Marco Mañaol (right) call on admin to uphold democratic rights during the League of Filipino Students press conference.

Several student councils and human rights groups urged the University administration on Sunday, Jan. 24, to uphold democratic rights after dismissing three students due to alleged involvement in “unrecognized organizations.” 

“While it is understandable that we need to abide by the existing guidelines and policies as much as possible, it is to take not that the 1987 Constitution […] shall remain the highest form of constitution by nature,” UST–Senior High School (SHS) Student Council representative Ruth Dizon said in a press conference organized by the League of Filipino Students.

According to Dizon, the UST administration should revise its policies suppressing student activism in the University.

“Nanawagan kami sa administrasyon na isaalang-alang muli hindi lamang ang mga paglabag ng mag-aaral, pati na rin ang mga patakaran ng Unibersidad na nagbibigay daan sa pagpapatahimik sa mga mag-aaral,” she said. 

‘Critical mindset’

Human rights groups stressed the importance of having a critical mindset due to the country’s current political situation. 

“[K]inakailangan ang pagiging kritikal at makabayan na kaisipan. Kinakailangan ang pagpuna sa mapaniil na administrasyon dahil kung walang pupuna, sino?” Kabataan Partylist (KPL) –Katipunan Chairman Marco Mañaol said. 

Manaol also urged the University to overturn its decision on SHS student Shoti Ampatuan’s case. 

KPL–UST is expecting that the administration will continue to issue show cause notices to some students in the following days. 

“We hope the administration sees the fear and intimidation that they cause and stop issuing show cause orders,” KPL–UST said. 

In a span of two days, the UST–SHS administration barred a student from enrolling next academic year, while two more students were given show cause notices for allegedly joining unrecognized groups. 

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UST acquits senior high student who violated code of conduct

A Senior High School (SHS) student accused of joining the progressive organization, Anakbayan, was acquitted by the UST-SHS administration on Thursday, Feb. 25.

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Rohm Bautista/TomasinoWeb

A Senior High School (SHS) student accused of joining the progressive organization, Anakbayan, was acquitted by the UST-SHS administration on Thursday, Feb. 25.

In a letter dated Feb. 15, the UST-SHS Student Welfare and Development Committee cleared Grade 11 student Lance Avery Alo of his case due to lack of sufficient evidence. 

“I welcome the decision of UST with open arms as it is a victory for students who stand true to their principles,” Alo told TomasinoWeb.

According to the UST-SHS Code of Conduct and Discipline, recruitment of students to unrecognized organizations, both on and off-campus, as well as membership in illegal organizations, are prohibited. 

However, the code failed to specify what constitutes being an “illegal” and “unrecognized” organization. 

Alo stressed that the student body should be empowered instead of condemned for having progressive views. 

“Our fight does not end here. We still need to review and remove old policies and practices that serve as a hindrance to the fundamental formation of the students,” he added.

Last Jan. 30, SHS Student Council member Shoti Ampatuan revealed that the University barred him from enrolling in the following term due to his affiliation with Anakbayan UST-SHS.

The League of Filipino Students-UST accumulated over 2,500 signatures, as of writing, urging the SHS administration to overturn its decision on Ampatuan’s dismissal. Paolo Alejandrino

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UST issues memo on online etiquette amid flak

“While we understand the benefits of social media as a source of information and an efficient avenue for communication […] we also recognize its ill effects,” the memorandum read. 

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TomasinoWeb/Aliah Danseco

The University released a memorandum on digital etiquette yesterday, Feb. 19, following the dissent of some Thomasians on the emergency shift of classes to online mode. 

“While we understand the benefits of social media as a source of information and an efficient avenue for communication […] we also recognize its ill effects,” the memorandum read. 

UST Secretary-General Fr. Jesus Miranda Jr., O.P., reminded both the students and the faculty to “remain consistent” with the University’s catholic identity, which is to “promote compassion and understanding” instead of “discord and hate.”

Miranda also warned the Thomasian community about sharing unverified information, stressing the need to be constantly mindful of their actions as it may affect them as an individual and as members of the University. 

“Exercise best judgement in discerning whether the material that we intend to post or share is inappropriate or harmful to our loved ones, peers, and/or the University,” Miranda said. 

“Refrain from posting comments, contents, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, propriety, harassing, libelous, can trigger psychological reactions, or that can create a hostile work or study environment,” Miranda added. 

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UST bags 21 awards in 18th PH Quill

Twenty-one student organizations bagged awards in the 18th Philippine Quill Awards and 8th Philippine Student Quill Awards on Wednesday, Feb. 19. 

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Twenty-one student organizations bagged awards in the 18th Philippine Quill Awards and 8th Philippine Student Quill Awards on Wednesday, Feb. 19. 

Among the winners are The Varsitarian, Tiger Media Network, UST Minecraft team, Tomasian Media Circle and Talents, and some journalism and communication arts students. 

According to the UST Minecraft team, they did not expect to win two entries under the student entry division for communication skills. 

“It was not that easy to conduct and prepare a virtual campus tour, but it was met with a wonderful result,” UST Minecraft Tours Executive Producer Ashley de Mesa told TomasinoWeb.

Like De Mesa, Charles Nobleza,  founder of the UST Minecraft, felt the pressure of the requirements in meeting the criteria for the awards.

“We would like to continue remaking our traditional events on the server such as holding a Baccalaureate Mass for our graduates as a token of gratitude for their completion in UST, ” Charles Nobleza, founder of the UST Minecraft, said in an interview.  

“Maybe reopening the server as well for the USTAR applicants to see UST inside a game,” he added.

The awarding ceremony, which is annually hosted by the Philippine Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, will be held virtually in March 2021. Ian Patrick Laqui

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