UP Students Uphold Student Representation

In a historic referendum, the students of the University of the Philippines (UP) reaffirmed the rules governing the selection of their lone representative to the highest policy-making body of the university.

BY JEFFREY OCAMPO
Contributor
Bulatlat

In a historic referendum, the students of the University of the Philippines (UP) reaffirmed the rules governing the selection of their lone representative to the highest policy-making body of the university.

An overwhelming 73 percent of those who voted in the referendum approved the existing Codified Rules for the Student Regent Selection (CRSRS).

The Republic Act 9500 or the UP Charter paved the way for the conduct of the said referendum. Enacted in April 2008, the Charter states that the Board of Regents shall include: “One Student Regent, to serve for a term of one (1) year, chosen by the students from their ranks in accordance with rules and qualifications approved in a referendum by the students.”

The referendum would either endorse or stamp out the CRSRC which has existed for the past 13 years.

Shahana Abdulwahid, the present Student Regent (SR) of the University of the Philippines (UP), formally announced the result of the five-day student referendum, Feb. 6.

Out of 47,635 students within the UP System, 26,118 voted, according to the Office of the Student Regent’s (OSR) official tally.

Airah Cadiogan, the system-wide referendum committee head said the voter turnout, which is 55 percent of the entire student population of the UP System, is quite an accomplishment. She said that for a very long time, the UP students’ voice, as made clear through their participation in electoral processes within the university, had not been as valiant as it was in the recently-concluded referendum.

For or against

In the referendum, students were to vote for or against the further implementation of the CRSRS in the nomination and selection process of the SR. Thus, the question was whether a student is in favor or against the ratification of the present selection guidelines.

The document, which was collectively penned by the members of the General Assembly of Student Councils in 1996, has been the guiding principle of the selection of the SR since then.

A “yes” vote meant that a student agreed that CRSRS should still be implemented as official guidelines to the process of the selection and should therefore be ratified. A “direct effect” of the vote, said Abdulwahid, was the immediate nomination and eventual selection of the new SR. She added that any student or student formation may then propose amendments to the provisions in the CRSRS that are deemed to be in need of changes.

Another important implication of the vote is the prevention of intervention of the university administration in the SR selection process as stated in one of its provisions.

“No” vote, on the other hand, meant opposition to the further existence of the CRSRS. The danger of the vote, noted Abdulwahid, was placing the decision on the matter of the SR selection on the hands of the university administration. The administration, then, can either decide not to grant the post or appoint one that is “pro-administration”, stressed Abdulwahid. A scenario of a Malacañang-appointed student assuming the SR post was also a possibility, related the student leader.

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