Over 100 thesis advisers, panelists to face salary deductions due to clerical error

MORE THAN a hundred Artlets thesis supervisors and panelists will get salary deductions because of a miscalculation of their thesis honoraria that left them overpaid by half their rate last academic year.

A letter obtained by The Flame showed that the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance (OVRF) mistakenly used the second term rate, which is P1,400 per student for supervisors and P1,750 per student for panelists to calculate the thesis honoraria for the first term of A.Y. 2022-2023. The rates should have been P700 per student for advisers and P1,050 per student for panelists.

“It’s a waste and a hassle. Let’s say you’re deducted 1,000 pesos every month, oh, that’s big already. [You] could have treated your family for lunch or it could have been used for gas if you drive a car, so, definitely, it will prick,” UST Faculty Union (USTFU) President Emerito Gonzales said.

Reply slips were attached to the letter that gave faculty members the choice between a one-time full payment and a six or 12-month staggered return payment plan for the return of the excess pay.

“In case of failure to provide the reply slip, the one-year deduction period shall be used by default. Deductions will start this coming January 15, 2024,” the letter read.

Some 120 faculty members were affected by the blunder, according to multiple sources.

Some Artlets faculty members with several advisees and panel assignments will get a five-digit salary deduction.

The office of UST Vice-rector for finance Rev. Fr. Roberto Luanzon, O.P. has declined The Flame’s request for comment.

A clerical error  

The thesis honorarium was given to supervisors and panelists in August or September 2023 but the notice of the computation error was only given in December 2023, Gonzales said.

The USTFU president expressed disappointment over the “clerical error,” noting that some faculty members have advised numerous thesis groups.

“I fear for those who have accumulated a significant amount of thesis honoraria. They worked hard for it… and if you received a substantial sum and have already appropriated it elsewhere trusting that everything is in order that it’s clear it’s your money, then suddenly, it gets divided,” Gonzales added.

For Gonzales, the remedy to the issue is a dialogue between the administration and faculty members, noting this would provide an opportunity to explain the errors and address concerns.

“The way I see it, regardless of her reasons [Financial Planning and Business Development head Teresita Nabor], the error has been done, the damage has been done, there is no other way for it to be corrected but you have to explain before they deduct,” Gonzales said.

The UST Arts and Letters Faculty Union will begin a dialogue with the University administration tomorrow, Feb. 1, to discuss the issues raised by the affected teaching personnel. F – with reports from Veancy Palad 

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