In response to DLSU-D AB Communication student Caitlin Alana Medenilla who criticized the University Student Council (USC) and College Student Councils’ “lack of action” toward social issues through a Facebook post on September 20, the USC and the seven College Student Councils (CSCs) have explained their sides and opinions on the matter in separate interviews with The Heraldo Filipino.
The University Student Council (USC) clarified that before the concerned student posted her criticisms through Facebook, the council was already talking about the matter in question—the Martial Law anniversary.
“Siguro better kung aalamin niya ‘yong ginagawa, kung may ginagawa na ba. Kasi meron naman talaga, bago siya mag-post,” USC 2017-2018 Secretary Mark Angelo Dela Cruz mentioned.
The council would like to point out that there’s nothing wrong with her statement. “Sa’min walang mali ‘don, kasi opinyon niya ‘yon. Kung ‘yon ‘yong nakikita niya, it is a sign for us to improve more.” USC 2017-2018 Business Manager Kurt Rayburn said.
However, the USC added that a matter like this should be directly addressed to the council. “Mas okay na approach us if you have concerns because we are willing to listen, because we are your voices. We are the ones who would channel those concerns towards the admin or towards the whole university,” Rayburn added.
The USC adds that in order to encourage student participation on social issues, it will be conducting projects that are not just timely and relevant, but also relatable to the students.
The College of Business Administration and Accountancy Student Council (CBAASC) stated that, as a student council, being involved and aware of social issues goes beyond posting on social media.
CBAASC 2017-2018 President Shiela Ann Catanghal said that CBAASC acknowledges Medenilla’s statement. “As a council, we want naman na maging aware ‘yong students on social issues,” she added.
Recently, the CBAASC created a freedom wall to seek insights from students on the issue of EJK, which lasted until the third week of September.
However, Catanghal admitted that there are constraints to CBAASC’s involvement in social issues. “We can only do so much. There are certain things we cannot control,” she furthered.
College of Criminal Justice Education Student Council (CCJESC) 2017-2018 President Kathlene Joy Narte said that the council respects Medenilla’s use of freedom of speech.
Along with other CSCs, CCJESC posted a statement on the issue of protests and EJK on Facebook, which states, “We encourage everyone to stand for lawfulness and constitutionality in the unrelenting pursuit of justice. The CCJESC implores the community to align with us in the name of righteousness, and beseech those in power to persevere in their loyalty of truly serving the people in spite of numerous conflicts and endless temptations.”
College of Education Student Council (COEdSC) 2017-2018 President Julius Nachor expressed his admiration with how Medenilla shared her opinions on the student councils of DLSU-D.
However, Nachor stated that the student, as a member of a program council herself, should have realized the efforts of college student councils to respond to social issues.
“‘Yong college nga namin nag-post kami ng EJK freedom wall para malaman namin kung ano ‘yong hinaing nong mga estudyante regarding ‘don sa klase na issue,” Nachor pointed out.
Moreover, Nachor mentioned that COEdSC will continue creating freedom walls to get students’ opinion on social issues.
In order to formulate a stand coming from both the students and the council, the COEdSC wants to get the insights of the students. “Kapag kami (SC) lang ‘yong magbibigay ng statement, parang napakalaking bias naman ‘yon sa side namin. Gusto naming marinig ‘yong side ng mga estudyante kapag magpapa-meeting kami para at least fair,” Nachor explained.
In raising social awareness to the students, Nachor mentioned the importance of using social media as a platform to ignite the interests of students.
“Gamitin na natin ‘yong social media pagdating sa paggising ‘don sa mga hinaing ng tao, sa mga kaisipan ng tao. Para at least mas broad ‘yong pagdi-disseminate ng information regarding sa mga issue,” he added.
As for the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology Student Council (CEATSC) 2017-2018, President George Christian Cabatay said that the CEATSC respects the criticism on the matter at hand.
“I would like to assure everyone that the USC is leading the discussions over the matter which has started a long before the said criticism,” he added.
As for the protests and EJK issue, Cabatay said that the CEATSC believes that there are numerous ways to participate in social issues, such as raising social awareness. Moreover, the CEATSC asserted that it is “not the call of the council” to raise awareness as they claim that the students are aware on the current situation of the country.
“We (CEATSC) would rather focus on things that we can handle and control which is to be able to spread love and prosperity with our students because love itself will manifest given the chance someone pursues in spreading it,” he expressed.
Before the Facebook status was posted, the College of Liberal Arts and Communication Student Council (CLACSC) clarified that they were already deliberating their statement on the matter of the protests, adding that they needed to follow the rules and procedures before releasing a statement.
CLACSC posted their statement on Facebook that read, “The Executive and Legislative Board of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication Student Council, the highest student-governing body of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication in De La Salle University – Dasmariñas, calls for a collective action to #StopTheKillings and #StartTheHealing of the scars brought by the 1972 Martial Law and to say #NeverAgain to the currently alarming threat of dictatorship and tyranny in our country.”
The council also pointed out that they have “no hard feelings” toward Medenilla, as the council is very much open to comments, criticisms, or points of improvement for CLAC.
“Very thankful kami na mayro’ng nag–post ng ganon kasi from our point of view, hindi namin iyon nakikita, ‘yong sa ganitong aspect kami may mali. It’s up to the students to criticize how we address different matters in the college and in the university,” CLACSC 2017-2018 Public Relations Officer External Angelica Juarez mentioned.
On forming a stand, the council intend to get the different opinions of students in social issues, even those who wish to share anonymously, CLACSC 2017-2018 Vice President Neil Perez said, “Gagamit tayo ng Google form para ‘don nila (students) i-address kahit ‘di nila sabihin pangalan nila basta i-identify nila na from CLAC sila or gumamit tayo ng mismong Facebook page natin, puwede silang mag-message ‘don pero ‘di natin sasabihin pangalan nila.”
Moreover, the CLACSC believes that among the hardships that the councils are facing, they share different opinions on social issues. “The challenge that the councils of DLSU-D are facing is the different advocacies of different colleges that should be and must be united to represent DLSU-D,” CLACSC 2017-2018 Business Manager Joshua Ladaga furthered.
However, CLACSC claimed that passivity on social issues exists among DLSU-D students as the students simply “lack the platform” to express their thoughts.
“Our page is very open, our office is always open para tumanggap ng opinions, comments and hinaing ng ibang mga estudyante.” CLACSC 2017-2018 Secretary Razemelle Joyce Cruz added.
In an online interview with The Heraldo Filipino, College of Science and Computer Studies Student Council (CSCSSC) President Ances Valdez said that it is not in the by-laws of the council that the organization must be involved and be active in socio-political discourse.
According to Valdez, releasing a stand or statement as a council may not adhere to the opinions of the students to which the council is representing.
“As the highest governing student body in the CSCS, we want to respect the diversity of opinions of our students,” she furthered.
Meanwhile, Valdez said that students who wish to know the personal opinions of their student leaders on social issues can send a message through the CSCSSC officers’ personal accounts.
College of Tourism and Hospitality Management Student Council (CTHMSC) 2017-2018 Treasurer Samantha Isabelle Midlat said that aside from posting on social media, there are many ways to show one’s stance on social issues.
In the issue of students not showing any interest on the council’s action for social awareness, “Wala na sa amin ‘yon kasi we’ve done our part to share the information,” Midlat furthered.
Midlat added that living through the values of a Lasallian student, a council cannot immediately release a statement since one’s statement may not necessarily reflect those of the Lasallian community.