OSA suspension penalizes frats in good standing

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A YEAR has passed since the tragic hazing death of UST law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III in the hands of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.

His death prompted lawmakers to amend the existing Anti-Hazing Law and completely ban all forms of hazing.

UST that has vowed to “leave no stone unturned” for its part, has made progress in living up to its commitment of bringing justice to the slain law freshman.

Eight months after the incident, it kicked out eight students from the Faculty of Civil Law who were tagged in Atio’s hazing death.

But there were two things that should have been addressed with the administration’s decision: His parents had to learn of the expulsion through the Varsitarian when it broke the news and it did not even name–even at least only to them–the names of those who were expelled.

The expulsion is only the beginning–the bigger picture that should be addressed as well as the hazing culture among fraternities and sororities in the University. But alas, it seems to be barking at the wrong tree.

At present, the accreditation and operations of fraternities in UST are suspended by virtue of an order of the Office for Student Affairs (OSA).

Failure

This move was not only a failure to trail the good steps of the University in its search for truth but also towards addressing the real issue of violence in the campus.

Violence in all forms has no place in a Catholic university, much less in any institution who has moved on from its primitive ways and culture. But certainly, that is not what all fraternities and sororities in the University do.

Brotherhoods and sisterhoods from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery were known to be deeply involved in charitable work such as medical missions on their partner communities. Now, their community development programs are put on hold because of the ban.

Because UST failed to keep an eye and regulate the activities of the Aegis Juris which resulted in Atio’s death, why should other fraternities be banned as well?

Clearly, this is the fallacy of dramatic instance, and even of non sequitur when it imposed a ban on all fraternities due to a single fraternity upholding their barbaric belief in violence as a requirement for neophytes.

One may think that OSA is only washing their hands off so as not to be held responsible for any tragic case which may happen again. An institution’s failure or misgiving is not a reason to abandon responsibility.

More so, is it doing something to enforce this ban on fraternities who may be resorting to continuing recruiting neophytes underground?

Banning fraternities and sororities will not curb violence. Banning organizations that have existed in the University for years will only make them go underground–unguided and unmonitored.

It is a shame to call those whom Atio put his trust into as Thomasians. The issue of hazing or violence in any form should not be allowed to slowly fade into the background and the clamor should not only be present when another death from a barbaric ritual comes.

A year later, the nation took its step towards solving not only the problem but the root of it most importantly. Perhaps it’s high time too for UST to rethink of its decision and live up to the prime belief that it espouses: Veritas in Caritate. Truth in charity.

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