Sunday, May 26, 2024

Shock and Awe

First Printed in Vol. XCI No. 1. July 30, 2019

The month of July comes to a dramatic close with the commencement of the long-time Sillimanian tradition “Hibalag” starting off with the booth-building and from there it will all be an elaborate buildup towards the week-long celebration of founder’s day. But in the shadows of the night, the downpour of not only rain but the plague that was the bomb scare — all create an overshadowing blanket of uncertainty over the students.

On July 19 at 1pm, Silliman University posted a statement regarding the cancellation of classes due to the “continuing security and disaster response exercises” done by the school. Though it may look quite normal at first glance, one must take into consideration the sudden release of this post, which got mixed reactions from the students, faculty, and staff alike. The top issue remains that it was all so sudden. Students and employees were asked to leave the school premises without additional instructions or definite explanations according to multiple grievances sent to tWS. Students pointed out that the wording of the advisory didn’t cause any sense of urgency to most, seeing as it was just an “exercise,” only to be caught off-guard when they learned from staff that there was a bomb threat. Students and employees of the university are frustrated at the management of the whole ordeal — from the communication of details to the lacking sense of urgency and firmness of the evacuation process.

The question now being asked is this: Are we going to double or even triple down on measures after that? Another thing to note is that the bomb threat had major implications to events in Silliman University. The event that takes the biggest blow among all others is the Founder’s Week celebration or Hibalag. The Hibalag celebration — celebrated mid to late August — continues as planned but with doubts on whether or not activities will be affected. The Administration’s directive is to make sure that the student body, as well as the faculty and staff are safe and secure within the premises of the University. It is possible to drive away uncertainty and doubt if the Administration continually step up security measures while at the same time maintain the quality of everything that we enjoy and relish within the portals of Silliman — the Silliman Experience.

tWS believes that the Silliman University Administration’s security capabilities were tested last Friday, July 19. Faced with expectations from students, the administration must find ways to improve upon said security protocols without affecting the activities of the annual Hibalag celebration, and future school activities, by a huge margin.


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