The new president of the Central Student Council will propose amendments to the CSC Constitution to prevent controversies that hounded past council elections.

Faculty of Civil Law student Arlene Maneja said the qualifications of candidates and other provisions need to be cleared and perhaps amended to avoid a repeat of last school year’s controversy. In that incident, the candidates for president and vice-president of the Alyansa ng Kristiyanong Lakas (AKLAS) were disqualified from running because they weren’t local student officers. The two promptly secured an injunction from a Manila court and effectively stopped the election. They argued that a precedent had already been set that allowed CSC committee officers to run. Both were heads of CSC bodies when they filed their candidacies.

After Aklas withdrew the suit, the CSC Central Board composed of all the officers of the local student councils held an election. Maneja’s United Thomasians Alliance Council (UTAC) swept all positions, except the PRO, which was won by Aklas.

The biggest plan of the CSC is to amend the Student Council (SC) constitution. The proposed amendments will be tackled by a constitutional convention this month.

One proposal is to make the CSC a legislative body separate from the Central Board. In the SC Constitution, the Central Board, composed of local student council presidents, is the sole decision-making body of the CSC.

“(Sa tingin ko dapat) matanggal ang Central Board (so that) ang legislative power will vest on the CSC (alone),” Maneja said.

Maneja also proposed that the CSC be given authority to supervise local student councils “to ensure that they are not abusing their powers.”

Pagsakay sa isyu?

To avoid controversies during elections, the CSC proposed to reconcile the UST Omnibus Election Code with the SC Constitution.

“Should there be any inconsistencies in the UST Omnibus Election Code, it should be the SC Constitution that should prevail,” Maneja stressed.

The CSC also wants to resolve the SC Constitution’s conflicting provisions, including those on vacancies.

The SC Constitution states that the vacant positions should be filled by an election within the CSC without the Comelec’s involvement.

Contrary to this, the same Constitution states that in the case of vacancy in the vice-presidential post, the Comelec will immediately call a special election to elect a Central Board member to fill the position.

“In the general election pag wala kang vice-president the president simply appoints. We do not really need to call the Comelec to hold a special election. It’s more of a matter of convenience,” Maneja said.

The CSC would also clarify if the Comelec’s decisions are final or subject to appeal to school authorities. “If the matter is purely a student matter, it might have to be considered final,” Maneja suggested. However, in view of the oversight exercised by the school authorities then, a form of special appeal or review on very limited grounds may have to be provided for.”

Local student councils generally support the proposed SC constitutional amendment.

“The SC constitution needs to be amended because it should be in conformity with the present situation of the University and needs of the student body,” the College of Commerce Student Council stated.

“We should revise the constitution because of the flaws. To make things in a plain set-up, unahin ang amendment ng SC Constitution,” said College of Education Student Council president Erica Balaños.

First Archi week

Checking apathy

Every year, the CSC has to contend with student apathy. For this year, the council has drawn a list of activities and projects that would make them more visible and encourage students to actively participate in University events.

One of their projects is the revival of the grievance box for students who encounter problems within the University.

The CSC also plans to improve college facilities. It wants to install dispensers in comfort rooms and wall clocks and bookshelves in the classrooms.

The alternative class program, a set of classes to be held every college or faculty week, is a major project.

“The classes will substitute for the regular classes (during a college week). These will be varied, all geared towards personality development,” Maneja said. The “curriculum” will tackle writing resumes, job interviews, basic guidelines in the workplace, public speaking, confidence-building and even makeup and skin and hair care.

The CSC will also hold a university-wide party this month, “Fresh 2001,” to welcome freshmen.

Maneja said that they would also help spice up the UAAP. “Athletes would (be) sent off through a pep rally for the opening of the UAAP this July.”

The CSC plans to coordinate with the pep squad and the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe “to make it a big event.”

Getting involved

The lack of student participation in CSC’s activities is blamed either on student apathy or poor information dissemination.

Maneja said the CSC would foster cooperation with the local student councils to assure the students “the CSC cares for them.”

“I think it is a vicious cycle. (If) we start with a very good project (through) an effective information dissemination, students (would be inspired) to participate and then they will start looking forward to a better, brighter project. You start with a bad project and bad information dissemination then the culture of apathy comes in,” she said. Frances Margaret H. Arreza and Maria Pacita C. Joson

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