THE CENTRAL Board of Students (CBS) said it expects the Magna Carta for Student Rights to be fully realized this year.

While the previous CBS had passed the proposed charter, the current CBS is reviewing it, said CBS vice-president Ron Robby Rosales.

“The Magna Carta is the great charter that would ensure the rights of every Thomasian student,” CBS president Jim Eduard Trinidad said. “The Magna Carta seeks to underscore the role of student as catalyst of academic excellence, moral integrity, spiritual growth and national development.”

The CBS is the legislative body of the student government.

Although the charter was reportedly approved by the previous CBS, it is not clear why the current CBS is still reviewing it. Moreover, the charter, according to Rosales, is now with the Office of the Secretary General for comment.

In addition, Rosales explained that the charter will also pass through the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), which last summer had been reported to have given its comments, and the Academic Senate, which is composed of deans from all colleges.

Although the charter has been in the making since 2004, it is not clear how the final draft would be approved or passed.

Rosales said the charter would be first signed by the Rector then given to the student body in a plebiscite.

But some student leaders said the charter should first be submitted to a referendum. If the Rector would get to approve it first, they raised the prospect of the charter later being rejected in a referendum, which would be potentially embarrassing for the Rector.

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Moreover, there were concerns raised that the charter, as it exists now, is half-baked, with student participation left out of other areas of campus management, such as the recognition of student organization and even parking and food services.

Even students are left out of the formulation of rules on student assemblies.

“OSA will release the guidelines on peaceful assembly,” Rosales said. “And those guidelines must not undermine the student’s right to petition school authorities and/or the government for redress of grievances.”

Trinidad said the CBS and the Central Student Council (CSC) plan to suggest revisions in the Student Handbook.

Other concerns

But the CBS has more pressing problems than wrapping up work on the Magna Carta. For one, no one seems to know it exists and for what reason.

“Only a few students knew that the CBS is the legislative arm of the Central Student Council,” Trinidad said. “This school year, we are pushing for a more visible and approachable board.”

Rosales added that most students are not even aware that their local student council presidents are also part of the CSC through the CBS.

Moreover, Trinidad proposed the creation of a “grievance committee,” which would facilitate student grievances with their colleges.

The CBS said it would set up bulletin boards at strategic points of the University to better inform the students. Hershey D. Homol


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