THE UPCOMING UST Central Student Council (CSC) Executive Board elections have hit another setback as the last remaining candidate has withdrawn from the race, joining six other candidates who had previously criticized a “system resistant to reform.”

Candidate for auditor Stephan Aseron, a medical technology freshman, submitted his withdrawal to the Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) via email on Friday afternoon, following the mass withdrawal of the six other candidates two days prior.

Aseron said he was only informed the night before about the planned withdrawal of the other candidates running for the CSC.

“Their decision to withdraw from the UST Central Student Council Elections is a consequence of this repressive system where student leaders are rendered powerless against the administration—where they are relegated to be event organizers instead of representatives to fight for the students,” Aseron said in a statement.

“The visions and goals that my fellow candidates and I had would inevitably face difficulties implementing under the current system, and they took a principled stand against such, which I deeply respect and understand,” he added.

“I understand that the council is only a cog in the system of student representation within the university,” he said. “However, there is no denying that a vacant UST Central Student Council is still a problem, especially in appealing decisions and defending the rights of the students.”

He called for the inclusion of students in discussions that directly affect them.

“The vacancy only underscores the fact that there must be direct representatives from the students in the decision-making bodies of the university, especially for tuition and other fee increases, academic policies, policies for student organizations and local student councils, and all student-related policies,” Aseron said.

Candidates Timothy John Santiago (president), Matthew Enriquez (vice president), Hannah Calara (secretary), Hanah de Leon (treasurer), Josh Viray (auditor), and Francine Tuazon (public relations officer) withdrew from the elections on March 20.

They cited campus media censorship, red-tagging, suppression of democratic rights and student welfare, and the entrenched bureaucratic system as factors influencing their decision to withdraw.

The Comelec has yet to release guidelines on the updated election procedure following the withdrawal of all CSC candidates.


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