By Dannah Jireh Paloyo
Students of PUP College of Communication together with its Student Council held a mob protest against the revision of the PUP handbook and NPU Bill on July 15, Monday afternoon inside the PUP main campus.
The COC-ians, together with other progressive student organizations, voiced out their disagreement towards the university administration’s decision to impose what they refer to as “anti-student provisions” throughout certain sections of the handbook.
Said revisions are the mandatory drug testing, the implementation of a dress code, and a higher required GWA to qualify for Latin honors.
Section 3, or the Representation Rights implicates limited access to the university’s facilities and charging the students with fees for utilizing resources upon conducting programs and activities that are not deemed as official events by the university’s guidelines. As we know, these facilities are needed, not only for traditional academic purposes but also for holistic and experiential learning. Imposing fees would neglect the students’ right to personal and academic growth.
Section 5, which states the “proper” and “dignified” grooming only breeds elitist, patriarchal, and discriminative ideologies. While we wanted to be presentable in academic institutions, providing connotative meanings with “short shorts”, “micro mini skirt”, tube, etc. would only stop us from achieving a progressive society. The kind of reasoning most rapists and patriarchal individuals only enables people from perceiving women based on how they dress. Not only this, but Section 5 provision impedes an individual’s right to self-expression.
Section 6, or the Other Rights might mention the protection of students from militarization, nonetheless, ROTC being an exception would fade out the fact that there were cases of abuse and death in this program. To mention, just this year, during the NSTP ROTC orientation at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, students were red-tagged. The military presence also threatened the right of the students to feel and be safe inside the university. This incident can also happen inside PUP campuses. Hence, the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines will never endorse this kind of provision.
There is also the National Polytechnic University Bill, principally authored by JV Ejercito, which positions PUP students’ right to Free Tertiary Education in question.
Section 7, or the Powers and Duties of the Governing Board mentions that the governing board can “(d) fix the tuition fees and other necessary school charges, such as but not limited to matriculation fees, graduation fees, and laboratory fees”. Meanwhile, another provision, (q), would only enable the commercialization and privatization of the university’s non-academic assets. Academic freedom, lastly, blurs from the picture with Section 3, or the Secondary Purpose.
The mobilization went course from the COC carpark out to the streets of Anonas until they reached Popeye in the main campus.