A year in review: How Lasallians take a stand on University, political issues in 2021
The year 2021 was met with pressing issues inside and outside the University — from concerns on academic policies to stories of struggles amid the year-long pandemic and continued social injustices in the country. As these stories surfaced almost month after month, Lasallian students have taken their stand on some of the most relevant issues this year — in ways and means that amplified the most essential calls of their fellow students, and even the plight of vulnerable sectors.
Taking a stand on academic concerns
While anyone has the ability to voice out and express their stances, the presence of student leaders especially when it comes to student-related concerns drives a stronger collective effort in forwarding necessary calls. This year, student representatives from the University Student Government (USG) were quick to respond to concerns from the student body — from asking the University administration to adjust some policies to demanding transparency on academic decisions.
On September 15, USG President Niña Ligan appealed to the DLSU-D administration to formulate special tests for students who cannot afford to take exams via the Safety Exam Browser (SEB), after a University official ‘recommended’ students to provide and purchase laptops and computers for online classes. This was followed with calls for #NoStudentLeftBehind from some members of the student body, a nationwide demand that forwards the need to provide equal access to education amid the distance learning setup.
🏹 HEAR ME OUT 🏹
To say that
“having a pc/laptop/desktop IS A REQUIREMENT”
REALLY SCREAMS INJUSTICE AND IS SUPER NOT STUDENT-CENTERED.
Students are doing their best para makapag-aral KAHIT ALAM NAMAN NATEN NA ONLINE CLASS IS NOT FOR ALL AND ONLY FOR THE PRIVILEGED.
— vince(nzo) ☄️ (@binsenzocassano) September 15, 2021
On the other hand, USG also demanded transparency from the DLSU-D administration on its initial decision to extend online classes to the second semester of academic year (AY) 2021-2022 during the virtual USG Address on November 19. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academics and Research (OVCAR) first announced the extension of online classes on November 5, but eventually shared that limited onsite activities and facility-use may be approved next semester.
USG President demands an explanation from the University administration on its decision to extend online classes next semester, citing different points for reconsideration. “I am humbly asking for clarification. Please hear us out, hear our students,” Ligan stressed.
— Heraldo Filipino (@heraldofilipino) November 19, 2021
Aside from raising academic concerns, Lasallian student leaders also passed socially-relevant acts and policies this year. In March, the USG passed an act that establishes a student safe space commission inside the University to raise awareness and prevent gender-based violence among students.
Meanwhile, at the collegiate level, the College of the Liberal Arts and Communication Student Government (CLACSG) passed an ordinance for students with absences and tardiness due to mental health reasons to be given consideration for their missed classes.
Engagement in politics, mass-centric causes
Like in previous years, some students did not forget to be involved on issues outside the campus, as they continuously voiced out their stance on the most relevant causes and plights from other sectors.
In March, The HERALDO FILIPINO released an immediate statement on the killing of activist Manny Asuncion, condemning the “escalated attacks against progressive groups” in the Southern Tagalog region. This came after the deadly crackdown by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against mass organizations in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Rizal, killing Asuncion and 8 other activists in what now history remembers as the ‘Bloody Sunday’.
Calling to #StopTheKillings in the country, the CLACSG also raised their stand to end police brutality in June after the murder of Lilybeth Valdez, a 52-year old woman who was shot and killed by a policeman in Quezon City.
As many human rights violations have been recorded under the Duterte administration, student journalists and leaders from DLSU-D sat down for a roundtable discussion in September, tackling the bloody legacy of the President with his violence-riddled campaign on drug war and attacks on press freedom.
With human rights abuses taking a huge toll on the lives of many Filipinos, various Lasallian organizations then engaged in more political discussions this 2021 through voter’s empowerment and education forums and webinars, especially with the #Halalan2022 drawing near. All these were held in a shared goal to encourage their fellow students in electing the right and most suitable leaders for the upcoming elections — and with it, better governance and pandemic response for the next six years.
Slider Illustration by Emmanuel Esmilla