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SOAD considers suspending HPSS over ‘inappropriate’ incidents

By Kean Andrei Bagaipo and Paul Ray Donaire | September 5, 2023

After allegedly “vulgar” acts were committed at the PopCon Show during the Hibalag festival, the Silliman University (SU) Student Organizations and Activities (SOAD) confirmed that it is “leaning towards suspending the History-Political Science Society (HPSS) as the event’s organizer.”

“My first reaction when I got the report was to suspend them,” SOAD Head Abe P. Cadeliña said.

According to the SU Student Government Committee on Student Organizations (COMSO), two performers impersonating “Lady Gaga” and “Madonna” allegedly kissed a student without consent and showed fake breasts to the crowd, respectively, during their performances on Aug. 25 at the Hibalag stage.

Cadeliña noted that the following incidents were deemed “inappropriate” considering that some “talents would go beyond the boundaries.”

“We do respect these talents, but we need to understand that there are certain boundaries and certain inappropriateness in their show,” he said.

As a Christian-centered institution, Cadeliña also emphasized that SU “observes certain morals and practices” and is “strict when it comes to the appropriateness of the shows” being held on campus.

“There are big things that are violated, especially [when] there are minors and [families] who can witness,” he said. “It’s the values that we are inculcating [in] the students.” 

While events must be approved before they may be conducted at the Hibalag stage, Katrina Unson, head of COMSO events, confirmed the sudden change of activity details and the failure to receive a formal paper document from the HPSS.

“The organization did not send a document stating to change the activity name and the performers,” she said.

Meanwhile, HPSS President Shantal Busa said that there was no “quick change.” Rather, her team failed to “follow up their renewal of activity name” to COMSO after she had informed them verbally, which explained why their activity was not officially included in the Hibalag calendar. 

She also said that the performers were “briefed and informed on the school protocols” and were supposed to hold technical rehearsals before the event, but it was canceled because the performers “did not [show] up [to the rehearsal] complete.”

“It was beyond our control… however, it was our fault because we are the ones in charge of the event,” Busa said.

When asked about possible suspension, Busa further said that they would face the offenses “professionally” while trying to provide “transparency and comply [with] things” needed to lighten up their sanctions.

Sanctions against the organization shall be decided upon by SOAD upon submitting the incident reports from COMSO and HPSS and the latter’s letter of appeal.

(This is a developing story.)

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