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SBs, 53 reps vote ‘yes’ to student seat in BOT

By Genno Gabriel Rabaya | May 17, 2024

Standard-bearers and 53 out of 57 college representative candidates agreed to push for a student seat in the Silliman University (SU) Board of Trustees (BOT). 

Their stances were publicized during the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) 2024 Election Forum held May 7, at the Silliman Hall. 

Responding candidates included those from the Concerted Action for the Upliftment of Students’ Endeavors (CAUSE) Party and those who filed independently.

Among 57 college representative candidates, the 16 who were present in the forum said yes. The rest gave their stances through a Google Form provided by the Weekly Sillimanian (tWS).

During the Election Forum’s open forum, Timothy Deo Libres, incumbent SUSG Vice President, asked for mechanisms to compensate for the lack of student representation in the BOT.

Philip Benedict Neri, CAUSE candidate for College of Performing and Visual Arts Representative, responded that the SUSG’s previous communication letters that had been disapproved “sufficed for this issue” and that it would be best for students to know about these efforts. 

“In exchange, it would be desirable for us to build [a] relationship instead of having a feud or a disparity between the two ends,” he added.

CAUSE standard bearers Sabrina Ysabelle Ledesma and Luke Timothy Burbano also affirmed pushing for a student seat during Veritas 2024: SUSG Student Body Conference held May 6 at the Silliman Hall.  

Ledesma said that representation is the students’ right since they are the university’s stakeholders.

“It is only important that students also get to have a seat, students also get to have a say, and also get to have room in discussions when it comes to matters that will affect them in the long run,” she said.

Kaye Brier, Veritas 2024 Moderator, further asked why CAUSE Party, who held the SUSG’s highest posts for five consecutive years, has yet to secure a student seat in the BOT. 

Ledesma responded that getting the seat feels “very out of reach” and requires more interaction with students.  

“It is something that is definitely hard so you can expect us to fight for it but probably not to actually achieve it,” she said. 

Ledesma and Burbano expounded their stances during the Miting de Avance held May 10, at the same venue. Ledesma started to explain that having a seat wouldn’t address every problem that might arise.

She also noted that the administration has made efforts to listen to the students’ concerns despite not having a student seat on the BOT. 

“[Another] thing that is important [is] to really have, whether with or without a seat in the BOT, is to have the capability to really hold the admin accountable,” she added.

Furthermore, Burbano said they intend to keep the administration “in check” while maintaining their established relationship.

He added that protesting the university’s administration would not mean that this relationship would be diminished and that, “As it all boils down to the necessity of the actions that we take if ever there are things that we have to address.”

On candidates that did not respond favorably to pushing for the BOT seat, Christian Jed Culanculan and Kristanna Carmela Quisumbing, candidates from the College of Business Administration (CBA) and Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, respectively, were not in favor based on their submitted forms. 

tWS has reached out to Culanculan and Quisumbing yet received no response as of writing. 

Meanwhile, CBA candidate Wenfred Jacob Renacia and Junior High School candidate Matthew Tree Cabanas under CAUSE Party did not answer the said form.

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