A GROUP of Thomasian activists is planning to start a University-wide signature campaign to stop the annual tuition increase.

According to Alliance of Concerned Thomasians (ACT-NOW) member and Faculty of Engineering student Romulo Yumul, the signatures will be presented during the tuition increase consultation meeting in Febuary.

According to the group, the University administration increased the tuition last semester despite the opposition of student representatives during the consultation meeting last February.

The group also claimed that the increase was implemented illegally because the University is a non-profit, non-stock institution.

According to ACT-NOW member VJ Topacio, the administration did not present last February a financial statement to account for the necessity of the tuition increase.

“Lingid sa ating kaalaman na meron tayong mga kamag-aral na nahihirapan na dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng matrikula. Ang argumento ng administration, gumaganda naman daw ang mga facilities. Ngunit sa ganitong pangyayari, nakakalimutan na ng University ang kanilang pahayag na ang UST ay pro-poor,” he said.

Faculty of Civil Law student and ACT-NOW secretary-general Glenn Romano complained that the administration had been harassing some ACT-NOW leaders. He explained that security guards routinely take photographs of the student protesters during rallies.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Student Welfare Development Board (SWP) director Zenaida Famorca denied the harassment. She admitted, however, that the security forces take photos or videos of the pickets for security purposes.

“What if someone asks us who are usually involved in rallies on campus? We would not be able to identify them,” she explained in Filipino.

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Meanwhile, ACT-NOW member Antonio Calongje was reprimanded by SWDP for allegedly flashing a dirty finger during a rally. But the student protesters denied this.

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