A day after appointment of new adviser, TomasinoWeb joins call to sack OSA officials

CAMPUS MEDIA outlet TomasinoWeb and other groups are calling for the termination of the top officials of the UST Office for Student Affairs (OSA) and an end to what they described as the “unnecessary bureaucratic and repressive culture and system” at the University.

In an open letter to UST Rector Richard Ang, O.P. on March 12, TomasinoWeb and a number of groups representing Thomasian student leaders and activists accused OSA of abuse of power and disrespect of academic freedom and democratic rights and decried what it called its “tyranny of backward thinking.”

“We firmly demand accountability through the termination of the current UST OSA Director Maria Cecilia Tio Cuison and Assistant Director Maria Regina Arriero for their transgressions,” the open letter read.

“We have persevered and persisted to come this far; But enough is enough, the abuse of power must come to an end.”

The letter was published a day after TomasinoWeb resumed its social media operations and the appointment of journalism instructor Nathaniel Melican as its interim adviser.

READ: TomasinoWeb back on social media with new adviser

TomasinoWeb president Jan Carlo Zamora told The Flame he had given his support to the drafting of the open letter before Melican’s appointment. He said the matter was raised to Melican and the newly-appointed adviser did not have any objection.

Zamora also urged students to demand accountability and policy reforms from the UST administration.

“Again, this is not an attack on the institution but an address to the university administration that the system they’re running in UST is no longer apt for the student body, and that every student is suffering, restricted, and limited from their full development and growth,” he said.

Melican replaced journalism instructor Leo Laparan II, who resigned after OSA directed TomasinoWeb  to unpublish its photo of information and computing sciences students wearing their type B uniform in front of convenience store 7-Eleven.

Aside from TomasinoWeb, other signatories of the open letter are the UST Artlets Student Council, UST Senior High School Student Council, the Education Courier, Constitution Revision Alliance, Anakbayan UST, Panday Sining UST, League of Filipino Students UST, Kabataan Partylist UST, TINDIG-UST Senior High School and TINDIG-UST AB.

According to them, student councils and organizations have run-ins with OSA’s “student repression,” forcing them to become “event-makers” instead of student leaders.

“[N]o actual student leadership and representation is ever going to happen with a UST OSA like what we have now,” the letter read.

“We have endured repression and the neglect of democratic rights at the hands of the institution, instead of guiding us with sociopolitical consciousness and honing our capabilities and character as a student.”

The Thomasian student leaders and activists also likened OSA’s directive for TomasinoWeb to unpublish the 7-Eleven photo to the media repression during Martial Law.

“Taking down a harmless content of the students is not only a simple media censorship, but a direct disrespect of one’s academic freedom and democratic right – Parallel to the period of Martial Law, wherein journalists were (shut down),” they said.

In February, OSA warned Zamora of possible non-reaccreditation over the now-controversial 7-Eleven photo.

READ: TomasinoWeb prexy says OSA officials threatened to ‘end’ campus media outlet

Reforms sought 

The groups called for “a genuine and progressive” sectoral student representation through “stronger policy reforms” in processes for student organization accreditation, the approval of a student code and a revision of the student government constitution.

“We stand for students; rights. We stand for a true compassionate, committed and competent university and administrators. We will never be silenced again,” they said.

The Flame reached out to OSA multiple times for comment but has yet to receive a response as of posting.


Last Monday, Kabataan Partylist representative Raoul Manuel filed a resolution seeking to investigate the alleged censorship, threats, and “democratic rights violations” made by the OSA.

READ: House Reso seeks probe on TomasinoWeb censorship, ‘democratic rights violations’ at UST

The resolution also cited the show-cause notice received by philosophy student Raven Racelis due to her alleged violation of the UST Student Handbook’s policy against joining organizations not recognized by the University. It also called for an investigation on the UST Social Welfare and Development Committee’s issuance of a show-cause notice on senior high school student Allen Marc Ballesteros for supposedly violating the same policy. F – Zoe Airabelle Aguinaldo and Joss Gabriel Oliveros
(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include TomasinoWeb president Jan Carlo Zamora’s statement.)

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