Appeals approved: 118 students to graduate amid requisite courses mix-up

By Jonette May Manalo

The 118 graduating students who were flagged for errors in their requisite courses will march during UP Diliman’s 112th General Commencement Exercises tomorrow after the University Council (UC) approved their appeals.

The UC accepted the appellants’ motion to credit their requisite courses last July 24, 2023 or six days before graduation.

The council, which is the university’s highest academic body, is composed of the Chancellor and all assistant professors and mandated to recommend “the graduation of students and the grant of honors.”

Last May, the Committee on Student Admission, Progress and Graduation (CSAPG) notified the graduating students about these errors. The CSAPG is a standing committee of the UC. 

With their sablays hung in the balance, concerned students immediately filed their appeals to be included in the final list of candidates for graduation.

However, it was in June up to only a few weeks before the commencement exercises that they were informed of their appeals’ disapproval from the CSAPG.

Eunice Santiago, a graduating Sociology student, said that she has always been compliant with her department’s instructions on requisite courses. 

When she took Social Work (SW) 110 as an elective, Santiago did not know it had a corequisite course. Her program adviser still allowed her to take the course during a consultation.

Noong nagpa-graduating status ako noong third year, wala silang sinabing anything about the SW 110 corequisite. Kasi kinuha ko siya third year, second sem, before I requested for a graduating status. Walang nagsabi na kailangan ‘yun,” she narrated.

Karl Efraim Duldulao, another appellant from the College of Engineering, shared his frustration on the CSAPG’s vagueness on when their cases will be resolved.

Ang parati nilang sinasabi ay prospective dates lang and that’s really frustrating on our end … Wala talaga silang binibigay na assurance,” the Materials Engineering (MatE) student said.

Following the UC’s resolution on July 24, the CSAPG took action two days later by “releasing action sheets to appellants stating the approval of their appeals,” making them official candidates for this year’s graduation. 

‘It happened again’

Still, affected Engineering students remain disappointed in the system that once again led to these unfortunate events.

Last year, 37 students from the Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (DMMME) were almost barred from their graduation due to problems brought by changes in the curriculum. 

READ: Petition granted: 37 Eng’g students to graduate July

Early this month, the department notified its students that their “graduation applications might be flagged due to an error in the sequencing of pre- and corequisites.”

However, they were later informed that their appeal was deferred to the next CSAPG regular meeting on August 20 due to the large volume of appeals. The delay would have pushed their graduation back by another semester. 

Andre Victor Suarez, another graduating student and former Engineering Representative to the University Student Council (USC), echoed concerns about the recurrence of the issue within their department.

Akala naming lahat hindi na ulit siya mangyayari kasi may ginawa na kaming corrective actions and everything then bigla kaming ifa-flag nang ganito,” the Metallurgical Engineering (MetE) student said.

Duldulao also expressed that it was “unjust” for the students to suffer the consequences of the administration’s errors on the curriculum adjustments, as they only followed the prescribed courses.

It’s disappointing to think that UP is one of the top universities in the country yet they have [these] processes,” Duldulao stated.

No student left behind

To further pressure the administration in heeding the appeals of the students, institutions such as the UP Engineering Student Council (ESC) and the UP Diliman USC released petitions and statements regarding the issue.

The possible delay of their graduation is uncalled for, further contradicting these students’ post-graduation plans (i.e. full-time job opportunities, postgraduate degrees locally and abroad) which endangers their future careers and higher education,” ESC’s statement read.

Meanwhile, UP Diliman USC echoed the calls of the appellants to reconsider their units and include them in the final list of graduates, even opening its avenues for graduation-related grievances and concerns. 

The whole process in itself is already dehumanizing on the part of the appellants, the least that the administration can do is to listen to their demands in order to come up with pro-student decisions and resolutions,” their statement read.

Several faculty members from CSSP also expressed their solidarity by joining the students’ calls and signing the CSSP SC’s statement. 

Nananawagan kami sa administrasyon ng UP na magpamalas ng malasakit sa kalagayan ng mga mag-aaral na wala naman sa kanilang mga kamay,” CSSP SC’s statement read.

‘Walang husay at dangal kung walang malasakit’

With the release of the final list of candidates for graduation last July 26, Santiago, Suarez and Duldulao firmly believe that they, along with other students, deserve their hard-earned ‘sablay’.

We did everything we could to finish our degree program and our graduation is a basic thing na deserve namin matanggap after years of studying,” Suarez said.

They also called out the “flawed” system of the university that puts them into this situation in the first place.

Ang dami nating fine-face na problema sa sistema ng UP. And up until the end, nilalaban pa rin namin ‘yung graduation namin … At the end of the day mapapasabi ka, ‘Ba’t ba hanggang sa puntong ‘to lumalaban pa rin kami?’” Duldulao said.

Suarez challenged the UP administration to hold themselves accountable for the burden shouldered by the students.

The fact that it happened again means that there should be someone responsible for it and it’s definitely not the students, kaya nawa’y hindi na muli ito mangyari sa mga susunod na magsisipagtapos,” Suarez stated.

Meanwhile, Santiago remained grateful for fellow students, faculty members and college officials who supported their appeals and fought with them until the end. 

I hope to see that UP would remain compassionate and understanding to its constituents … dahil sa likod ng mga apelang ito, may mga pamilyang nangangamba o istoryang nakakabit dito. Itong pagmartsa namin ngayong July ay tanda na may tagumpay sa protesta at sa sama-samang pagkilos,” she added.

With reports from Albert Lirio