(UPDATED) OSA officer-in-charge wants to make UST orgs ‘very lively,’ vows review of ‘problematic’ policies

Asst. Prof. Jaezamie Ong, UST Office for Student Affairs officer-in-charge. Photo grabbed from the official website of the University of Santo Tomas

Editor’s note: Updated as of 9:18 p.m.

THE OFFICER-IN-CHARGE of the UST Office for Student Affairs (OSA) is eyeing to make UST student organizations “very lively” under her tenure.

“I am that kind of person who is supportive of student activities given the guidelines and student policies…so I hope everyone becomes happy again, that Tan Yan Kee will be lively again,” Asst. Prof. Jaezamie Ong told The Flame when asked about her plans during her stint as officer-in-charge of the OSA.

“I hopefully want the Tan Yan Kee again to be the student center, where many people gather to be happy, to share stories with each other. I want…very lively student organizations. I want the Tan Yan Kee, the OSA, to be the home of organizations. That you’re (students) are welcome,” she added.

UST announced Ong’s appointment last March 14 following the approval of OSA Director Maria Tio Cuison‘s medical leave.

READ: Beleaguered OSA chief goes on medical leave

OSA drew intense public criticism after directing campus media outlet TomasinoWeb to take down its 7-Eleven photo of two students from the College of Information and Computing Sciences (CICS) in their type B uniform.

The photo, seen by some as emphasizing the resemblance between the CICS type B uniform and the uniform of 7-Eleven workers, supposedly spawned “public ridicule.”

OSA’s order prompted other student leaders and alumni to criticize what they called its “repressive, arbitrary and outdated policies.” Some Thomasian alumni alleged the TomasinoWeb controversy was not an isolated case but a “systematic problem of campus repression.”

Ong gave an assurance that necessary review and changes would be made to student policies that others view to be “problematic.” 

According to her, UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. has instructed OSA to hold a dialogue with student organizations to consider some policies and guidelines that may need “changes or improvements.”

“The Fr. Rector (Ang) is very open to that, is very ‘please listen to the students so we will know what they would want, what they need’ and then from whatever we will hear from the organizations, then we will find out if these things that are quote-unquote ‘problematic’… have to [be reviewed, changed and presented with] something new,” the official said. 

“If there will be need for changes, there will be changes…For me, it’s always towards what’s best for students, for the admin, for the faculty, for your parents, stakeholders.”

In a statement, the University said a dialogue would be held between Ong and the student organizations to discuss “student-related policies and guidelines,” including those under the Campus Journalism Act, a law that protects student journalists’ right to free expression.

“The University shall continue to uphold the rights of students balanced by a strong commitment to foster an environment conducive to learning and responsible development,” it said.

Ong declined to comment on the House resolution urging lawmakers to investigate the alleged censorship and threats made by OSA and other alleged violations of students’ democratic rights.F

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