THE OFFICE of the Vice Rector for Finance (OVRF) is set to hold a dialogue with professors from the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets) who had been instructed to reimburse excess payments received for their thesis honoraria.

The finance office, represented by Teresita Nabor, head for financial planning and business development, will meet with the faculty members tomorrow, Feb. 1, to discuss the erroneous computation of their thesis honoraria.

In December 2023, the OVRF notified 120 Artlets faculty members about the miscalculation. They were told to return the excess amount they had received for sitting as thesis panelists and advisers during Term 1 of the previous academic year.

Sources told the Varsitarian the sums slated for reimbursement varied, reaching up to five digits.

“The error in the computation happened when we did the review of the prior computations made in the thesis honoraria for the colloquium that happened in the previous year,” a copy of the letter, dated Dec. 12, 2023, read.

“We discovered that the rate used in computing the thesis honoraria for the first term of AY 2022-2023 is for the second term rate,” it continued.

According to the letter, thesis supervisors were incorrectly given P1,400 per student, double of the correct amount of P700, while colloquium panelists received an overpayment of P1,750 per student instead of the correct P1,050.

However, Artlets faculty members interviewed by the Varsitarian have pointed out that the thesis adviser and panelist rates had been interchanged by the finance office in the letter.

Teachers affected by the miscalculation were requested to complete a reply slip indicating their preferred method for reimbursing the excess amount. The options included deductions spread over three months, six months, or a year.

They were also given the choice to have the overpayment deducted from their retirement pay if they opted to retire this year.

Artlets faculty members received the letter in December and were asked to return the reply slip three days upon receipt, but the deadline was extended to Jan. 5.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, an Artlets faculty member expressed disappointment with the finance office’s process of reimbursement, noting the absence of any explanation regarding what happened.

“I’m disheartened,” the professor said. “It’s not just a lapse na pwede palagpasin. As one of the faculty members affected, gusto kong maliwanagan sa kung anong nangyari. I mean, sige, thank you for informing us or informing me na may overpayment pala ako. Pero what happened?”

According to the professor, the letter sent to the affected faculty members did not provide a breakdown of the overstated thesis honoraria.

“Hindi ba ISO-certified ang UST? So, the processes should be of global standards. Bakit nangyari ‘yung ganito? In every department, there should be quality assurance before taking action,” the professor added.

Upon the request of the UST Arts and Letters Faculty Association (ALFA), led by Assoc. Prof. Rene Tadle, the deductions from the salaries of Artlets teachers, scheduled to begin on Jan. 15, were deferred.

ALFA sought the deferral until the miscomputation could be clarified through a dialogue.

Tomorrow’s dialogue between the Artlets faculty and the OVRF will be the first of several discussions about the thesis computation. With reports from Mabel Anne B. Cardinez


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