Monday, December 11, 2023

Cheerdance ‘deferred,’ admin prefers the old-style cheer squad

by Paul Ray G. Donaire | February 19, 2023

Following a large margin of 20-2 votes, this school year’s Silliman All-University Cheerdance Competition (SAUCC) was deferred with some administrators hoping to bring back the “traditional” cheer squad without the acrobatic stunts during the Dean’s Conference held last Jan. 30.

The decision was made due to COVID-19 restrictions and risk-prone activity. 

Dr. Walden Ursos, chair of the Wellness Committee, said that there is still no declaration from the Department of Health pertaining that the coronavirus has ended. He added that a new strain of COVID-19 was discovered which can be detrimental to the academic community.

Also, with the lack of protective equipment, Ursos said that the school cannot safeguard the health of the cheerdancers from injuries.

Ursos then addressed the comments comparing the success of other public events such as the Miss Silliman pageant by saying that contestants and audiences during Miss Silliman kept their distance while in cheerdance, “there is a lot of touching.” 

Before the decision, John Jericho Murro, chair of the Silliman University Student Government Cheering Committee, said that SAUCC was declared to be part of the intramurals last semester. Hence, some of the colleges rehearsed early in preparation for the event.

Murro confirmed that the committee modified the guidelines in adherence to the COVID-19 protocols to ensure that health interventions were observed in line with the restrictions during the gradual transition into face-to-face events.  

He added that they removed some parts of the guidelines which they thought could cause accidents to the cheerdancers and allowed only the basic stunting. 

On the deferral of the competition due to COVID-19, Murro said they were not in favor of the decision because cheerdance competitions in other schools in Dumaguete City and the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) pushed through.

However, in an interview, Dr. Edna Calingacion, dean of students, said, “You can never compare our cheerdancers to that of the UAAP member schools because they are athletes, ours are not.” 

Calingacion added that Silliman’s brand of cheering competition was the “Cheering Squad Competition,” which only reflects the advocacies of each college unit’s identity through basic cheers and yells. 

Unless Silliman trains cheerdance athletes, Calingacion said, “We will always see cheerdancing as a very risky competition.”

Regardless of the dangerous circumstances that a cheerdance could bring, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Earl Jude Cleope said that SAUCC is only deferred for this year’s return of in-person intramurals which makes it a subject for inclusion next school year.

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