Oct. 24, 2014, 9:09 p.m. – MORE than 200 students
trooped to the Plaza Mayor Friday afternoon to demand the immediate approval of
the Students’ Code, closing the week-long Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW)
week spearheaded by the Central Student Council (CSC).

Central Board Speaker and Faculty of Civil Law Student
Council President Victor Villanueva said college student councils had failed to
involve students in the campaign, and should do more to increase awareness and
participation.

“This is a criticism and a challenge at the same time. Kung
ang mga student council officers noong panahon ng eleksyon ay kinakayang
mag-room-to-room buong araw at abutin ang kamay ng mga estudyante, bakit hindi
natin kayang gawin ang ganoong effort para sa pagpasa ng Students’ Code?”
Villanueva said during the rally.

He  called on
political parties to set aside 
competition and be united in the advocacy to convince the UST
administration to finally approve the code, a process that has dragged on for
10 years.

Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council President Marie
Jan Lazo said the campaign for the immediate passage of the code also mirrored
the fight for students’ rights in other higher educational institutions.

“Hindi lang naman UST ang nagtataas ng matrikula nang hindi
natin nalalaman kung saan napupunta ‘yung mga bayarin, ganun din sa ibang
universities,” Lazo said. “Hindi lang UST ang may kakulangan sa facilities
kundi maging ibang paaralan sa bansa.”

CSC President Ina Vergara said officials would  conduct a room-to-room signature campaign
to  increase pressure for the Students’
Code’s approval.

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“It’s a tedious process, pero I think kung nagawa naming
mag-room-to-room during the election campaign, we can do it again for the
passage of the Students’ Code,” Vergara said.

Among the students who joined the event was senior marketing
student John Jeremy Batimana, who said the code should be passed before the
academic year ends.

“Bilang isang estudyante, sa tingin ko mahalaga talaga yung
Students’ Code para malaman natin ‘yung mga dapat natin gawin as students, and,
at the same time, para sa mga professors din, para malaman nila kung paano
dapat tayo itrato,” Batimana said.

The Students’ Code, first drafted in 2004, covers students’
rights and responsibilities in the areas of academics, freedom of expression
and information, policymaking, and organization, among others. R. A.
Vergara, Jr.

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