February 27, 2023 — In a virtual town hall meeting conducted on January 17, 2023, the University Student Council (USC), together with the League of College Student Councils (LCSC) elevated to the UP Manila administration critical issues confronting the students.
Chaired by Mark Angelo Del Rosario, the USC raised the student body’s appeals: (1) waiver of the Maximum Residency Rule (MRR) in the university, (2) issue of limited space amid the conduct of face-to-face classes during the pandemic, (3) insufficient provision of scholarships to the economically challenged students, (4) implications of the reimposition of the Return Service Agreement (RSA), and (5) the soon-to-be implemented Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) in the UP System.
To address these matters, UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla provided key points on the progress of the crafted solutions to these concerns and assured the constituents of UP Manila that the administration is doing its very best to cater to the needs of UP Manila stakeholders despite its limited resources, such as space. She also assured that the administration has its ears on the demands and appeals of the students.
USC Chairperson Mark Angelo Del Rosario presenting student concerns
The appeal of the USC to waive the MRR was a byproduct of the increasing cases of complaints from clinical students whose patient-based requirements and prerequisites for graduation were impeded due to the strict operational guidelines for COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of the online mode of learning.
In a separate dialogue with the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA), the USC raised this appeal and the OVPAA called for a comprehensive report from the council to review the possibility of an exemption, specifically in UP Manila. Subsequently, the USC requested the UP Manila administration to endorse this report to the OVPAA.
In response, Chancellor Padilla highlighted the importance of addressing the student concerns first in a local and individual manner. She reiterated her desire to understand the contexts of the cases before making a generalized action. However, she assured the council that the administration is open to dialogues on this issue and other matters.
She disclosed the current efforts of the administration to resolve pressing student concerns. These include the addition of multiple scholarship opportunities to the School of Health Sciences, College of Nursing, and College of Public Health; building infrastructures which are envisioned to resolve student organizations’ and services’ issues (e.g. the new University Library and the Road Network connecting all the colleges in the university); renovation projects; College of Dentistry’s revision of curricular framework to aid in the feasibility of on-time graduation for its students; intercollegial mechanisms to address the inadequate number of classrooms during the return of face-to-face classes; and student accommodation problems.
Francis Nicole Maga | Published in UP Manila Healthscape No. 48 (February 2023)