UNCERTAINTY loomed over the departing UST Central Student Council (CSC) officers as they navigated the challenges of a hybrid setup.

As they are set to exit the scene, they hope the next set of student leaders will continue the projects they started and make the CSC stable as more face-to-face (F2F) classes are conducted.

Nathan Agustin, the CSC president who last year introduced a 10-point plan aimed at establishing a “policy-driven council,” revealed that he was only able to accomplish four out of his 10 agenda points. Agustin attributed the shortfall to the conventional outlook that the council should concentrate solely on initiatives centered on advocacy and student welfare.

“The 10-point agenda was not intended to constitute promises immediately executory during this term — it was intended to be a long-term roadmap that will hopefully translate into the actions of the CSC even beyond this academic year, so I hope that its essence will still be carried out in the succeeding terms,” Agustin told the Varsitarian.

“We saw how difficult it was to align this with initial expectations [of creating a policy-driven CSC]… Writing policies and going through the student governmental processes was hard, as numerous orientations and alignments had to be made with our higher-ups,” he added.

Agustin’s accomplishments include establishing the council’s external network and participation in progressive youth campaigns, delivering a “State of the Council Address” modeled after the State of the Nation Address, enhancing the council’s involvement in University affairs, and the start of the CSC Constitutional Revision on March 5.

Despite efforts made by the council, certain goals were left unfulfilled. These included the failure to expand the CSC Judiciary Board, provide legal aid to all students despite the creation of the Executive Legal Affairs Committee in the CSC, streamline the execution of student activities, and launch the CSC website to improve the dissemination of public information.

According to CSC Treasurer Benjamin Amper IV, the council worked with the University to enforce stricter gate protocols as a response to the increasing incidents of robbery and harassment in the vicinity of UST. Additionally, efforts were made to extend the opening hours of the University gates to accommodate students attending evening classes.

May mga instances before na may hazard sa P. Noval, kasi may mga incidents na may na-snatchan, may mga sexual harassment cases sa Lacson, ” Amper told the Varsitarian

“Open ‘yung gates para safer ‘yung ‘pag pasok ng Thomasians instead of going around the gates,” he added.

Needed improvement

Other CSC officers shared the same sentiments with Agustin as they recalled their experiences of miscommunications and misalignments with University administrators this year.

Dale Marollano, who stepped down from the position of CSC auditor, criticized the “restrictive” system imposed on student leaders. According to Marollano, despite their efforts to provide data from student surveys to support the policies proposed for face-to-face classes, they were disregarded by an administrative office.

Ito ‘yung nilalaman ng survey, ito ‘yung pulso ng student body ng UST pero ayun, at the end of the meeting and the consultation, nasabihan kami na hindi kami taga-gawa ng policy dahil students lang kami,” Marollano told the Varsitarian

The surveys were part of Marollano’s platform, the “F2F Code,” which sought to guide local student councils about students’ concerns regarding the resumption of F2F classes in the University.

Agustin said that coming up with concrete plans and proposals concerning face-to-face classes was challenging because of the unpredictable policy changes implemented by either the government or the University.

“The gradual shift to on-site classes demanded many adjustments — from taking online classes to taking on-site assessments, constant changes in academic schedule, and the fatigue of having to manage both online and on-site platforms,” Agustin said.

“Our term was also faced with the challenge of assisting in organizing the first-ever face-to-face activities of the University, which entailed numerous adjustments and coordination, especially after organizing purely online events in the past two years,” he added.

Amper also recalled the challenges the CSC faced in arranging in-person University-wide events for the first time in two years.

“We really had to start from scratch in terms of its preparation because the organizers back then [had] already graduated,” Amper said.

Agustin said he also regretted “not immediately taking early opportunities to meet halfway with the higher-ups.”

Outgoing CSC Secretary Francisco Mayuyu said these shortcomings could be considered areas for improvement for the council.

“These are the crucial points that we had to play to make sure that we ensure that students are being heard and that we are also working hand-in-hand with the administration,” he told the Varsitarian.

Mayuyu said that “stronger relationships” with the offices would have improved the planning and enforcement of the council’s policies. 

“Things would’ve been more seamless and smooth if we were able to closely coordinate and establish a stronger relationship with the offices, especially with the OSA (Office for Student Affairs),” Mayuyu told the Varsitarian.

Agustin recommended that the succeeding CSC officers dedicate time to disseminating information about the CSC to the student body, prepare for the revision of the CSC constitution, and encourage student participation in decision-making to the fullest extent possible. Hannah Joyce Andaya, Nillicent Bautista, Alexandra Mangasar, Mikhail Orozco, and Joanne Christine Ramos


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