By Kean Andrei Bagaipo and Shay Du | September 21, 2023
The Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) urged the administration to “strengthen their communication channels” with the student body following the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) approval of the 7-percent miscellaneous fee increase on Sept. 5.
SUSG made the call after claiming that they were “not informed or consulted of CHED’s approval prior to the implementation,” only finding out about the increase due to student’s reports about the sudden increase in their university and miscellaneous fees on Sept. 12.
On the same day, the SUSG clarified the matter with the Vice President for Finance and Operations, receiving confirmation of CHED’s approval on Sept. 13.
Currently, the SUSG said they are “actively” engaging with the university’s administration to seek clarification and keeping the student body “in the loop” through the League of Governors.
However, they clarified that consultation should “not be a matter of contention but rather a fundamental right.”
“We firmly call for administrative accountability by urging for a more inclusive process of consultation with the student body when crafting significant administrative decisions like the miscellaneous fee increase,” the SUSG said.
The student government added they will continue “to advocate for fair and transparent communication for the next months” and “suggest mechanisms” such as accessible consultations to student councils to “constructive[ly]” address student concerns.
However, University Treasurer Carol Bartolata said that their office is “willing to entertain students” who have concerns relative to the recent adjustments to the miscellaneous fees.
She noted that “Silliman is regulated by CHED” and followed the guidelines provided for in CHED Memorandum Order No. 3, Series of 2012.
“We have consulted with [the] Student Government within the period given and noted their comments and concerns. We will relay them to CHED,” she said in May last school year, prior to CHED’s approval.
While the SUSG admitted that “information was disseminated and consultation was done last school year prior to this approval,” they also said that “it [could] have been better…seeing as the consultation was not within the consultation period in accordance [with] Article III [Consultation Process and Requirement] Section 6.2 [Consultation Period].”
“The consultation period must be completed not later than [Feb. 28] of the academic year preceding the AY that the intended increases shall take effect,” quoted the SUSG from the said order.
Bartolata confirmed previously that the consultation meeting with the former SUSG President and Editor-in-Chief of the Weekly Sillimanian was held on April 13, but “before we submitted to CHED the documents relative to the university’s intent to adjust the miscellaneous fees.”