By LYN V. RAMO
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Students of the Pangasinan State University (PSU) Lingayen campus have called for the ouster of their dean due to alleged “repressive policies.”
More than 3,000 students signed a petition addressed to the PSU Board of Regents calling for the replacement of the current dean Dr. Merlita Q, Santos by an officer in charge (OIC).
“We do not like Dr. Merlita Q. Santos to be our dean because she denied accreditation to student organizations, repressed the Sangguniang Kabataan and Barangay scholars… and oppressed students… intervened in student organizational matters,” the student petition read.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a student leader divulged several other alleged anomalies involving university officials, especially the dean of the Lingayen Campus.
Officers of the Central Student Council (CSC) said Santos ordered the student services not to allow Sangguniang Kabataan and children of barangay (village) officials to enroll without paying the necessary school fees despite being entitled to scholarship grants under a republic act. “A lot of local government scholars were unable to enroll last June because of this,” Jerome T. Baraquio, CSC vice-president told the media in an interview. Santos reportedly claimed that the school is being deprived of its income from tuition and other school fees due to the said SK and barangay scholarships, which remained uncollected. She claimed the scholars could always get a refund from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). Many students reportedly depend on the SK and Barangay scholarships. The status of at least three religious student organizations remained in limbo because Santos denied their accreditation, said Rhey Mark Bermudez, also a CSC officer.
In a separate statement, CSC President Rowell dela Cruz said Santos has suppressed students taking up education by not releasing their class cards long after they have finished their term under her. Because she has failed to release their grades, the education students could not complete their practice teaching, which is a requirement for graduation. Dela Cruz also mentioned about the alleged meddling of Santos in the procurement of student nameplates, which they found too costly for its poor quality. Ronald Allan Manipor, a fourth year AB English student, who said the Lingayen campus has been transformed into a “martial-law campus” since the assumption of Santos as dean. Manipor dwelt on various collections that Santos initiated. One is the P50 per adding/dropping out form, another is the P20 per page of the examination sheet and still another is the P350 for tickets Santos collected when students from other schools paid only P75 for the same seminar. Santos also allegedly requires students to attend make-up classes on Sundays and holidays, defying university rules that disallow the use of the campus during such days.
“It is an additional expense for both the school and the students,” one of the student leaders said. Manipor also said Santos delays the signing of transcripts to force the students to treat her and her staff to lunch or simply pay P1,000. In December, she was organizing a field trip to Star City, IBC 13 and Enchanted Kingdom for P2,000 per student. The plan was foiled, though, because students could not afford it. Santos, in reaction to complaints about the collection of fees for a field trip, said it was not compulsory. Student leaders, however, said the field trip was practically a requirement because those who did not join the field trip were asked to submit a term paper with a very short deadline.