By Michiko Je Bito-on and Katrin Anne Arcala
THE SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY Administration clarified existing issues in the university through a round-table meeting and dialogue with the representatives of the Student Government (SUSG), college councils and other student leaders last Aug.5.
The said meeting was an effort to answer students’ concerns on new policies in the university, including the 5-day scheme, the revised enrollment process and policies on out-of-town activities, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the students, SUSG Vice-President Jeff Nicolo Palad said that the undertaking, which requires a guardian or parent’s signature, is inconvenient for many students who come from far-flung provinces. The “5-Day Week Scheme” has also created class scheduling problems for a large population of students, he added.
“The students were taken aback because they were not given prior information. Palad explained.
Silliman University President Ben Malayang III admits that the administration should ideally do consultations with affected sectors despite being a private university.
“The deficiency was that we did not wait for the semester to begin and then do the consultations. But then as we promised to everybody, the faculty and staff, we are going to do a continuing evaluation and monitoring of the scheme,” he added.
The administration is considering to establish an online system to facilitate the completion of the undertaking valid for the entire period with which the student is enrolled.
The following were considered in the implementation of the “5-Day Week Scheme”: consideration of the welfare of a large population of students-commuters, increased number of student activities, interruption of classes due to typhoons or holidays and minimization of the university’s expenses. Mondays are “flexible days” for students to have makeup classes or attend university or student organization activities.
The new school day system is still in its trial stage and is subject to evaluation by the administration, faculty and staff, and student leaders. The implementation may be cancelled in the next semester if findings suggest more harm than good on students.
With regards to other council and college activities, Malayang said that the university does not want to control the concerned group’s plans, so long as it promotes learning and ensures the safety of the students.