Text by: Marie Ernileth Uy
Infographics by: Jona Flores
(Editor’s note: This story is included in the second print issue of TNP for Editorial Year 2014-2015.)
MANILA – The University Student Council (USC) is building the dream team that will draft a Magna Carta which shall constitute the “fundamental guarantee of rights and privileges” of the students.
“It seeks to safeguard [students’] rights and welfare by embodying such rights in an instrument which will be binding between the students, the administration and the faculty,” USC Students’ Rights and Welfare Committee Head Pola Lamarca said.
Twenty-five seats in the drafting committee of the Students’ Magna Carta were opened for nominations from August 21 to September 12. After submission of pertinent documents, nominees will undergo a panel interview, with five members of the council as the panelists.
Meanwhile, a number of seats in the committee will be given to students selected via simple random sampling from the total population of UP Diliman students.
Lamarca said the Magna Carta is an independent campaign and was conceptualized even before the approval of the controversial Code of Student Conduct (CSC).
“[W]e are more determined to make the Magna Carta a success, in hopes that it may counter any arbitrary or repressive enforcement of the rules governing student conduct,” Lamarca said.
The CSC which serves as the “basis of conduct and discipline” of students lists the “acts of misconduct and (its) corrective measures.”
The Board of Regent (BOR), the highest policy-making body in the university, approved the CSC in its June 30 meeting despite the constant opposition of various student groups.
The code is criticized for its provisions prohibiting the “recruitment” of freshmen and transferees in organizations and Greek formations, among others.
However, the USC announced on August 22 through its Facebook page the loopholes in terminologies used in the code was recognized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA).
According to the page, “[T]he OVCSA has affirmed that freshies and transferees are [allowed] to participate in the recruitment activities of non-fraternity and non-sorority organizations provided that their induction shall occur after the first semester.”
Recruitment, according to the same post, includes orientations, application processes, and auditions, among others.