By CRIS EUGENE T. GIANAN
THE DEAN’S Office is set to release the breakdown of the P1,200 pilgrimage fee no later than July 6, Artlets Student Council (ABSC) president Rafael Arellano revealed.
Arellano said the Council had submitted a formal letter of request weeks ago as required by the Dean’s Office.
“Sabi [po] samin may cine-clear pa po sila sa [Office of the Vice Rector for Finance]. Pero mabibigay daw po nila not later than July 6,” the Council president told the Flame.
The P1,200 that each student from Batch 2018 paid last academic year for a pilgrimage was reallocated to a thanksgiving and prayer worship activity after the Commission on Higher Education put a hold order on all off-campus activities after the February 2017 Tanay bus accident.
Both Dean Michael Anthony Vasco and Assistant Dean Narcisa Tabirara said the ABSC president should be the one to submit a formal request since he is the representative of the student body.
Student Welfare Development Board (SWDB) coordinator Fleurdeliz Albela echoed the sentiments of the Dean’s Office, saying students should follow the proper steps in airing grievances.
“[The] demand for transparency should’ve been forwarded with respect and prudence. In a setting where there’s a certain party identified to have moral ascendancy, the students should’ve reflected on the proper steps to air their grievance,” Albela said in an online exchange.
Alleged social media policing
Students aired their grievances online, questioning the reallocation of the pilgrimage fee after being treated to what they described as “cheap” buffet food, along with the denial of requests from the ABSC and the Board of Majors to reallocate the funds to the Solemn Investiture.
Albela defended herself in an online spat with Journalism alumnus Xave Gregorio, who accused her of policing students’ social media posts complaining about the pilgrimage fee.
“I use social media in the same way others do, maybe as you look for relatives, friends, exes and crushes. I never realized that nowadays to follow already means to monitor. I have many other things to do than being a panopticon,” the SWDB coordinator explained.
In a Twitter thread, Gregorio claimed a student’s diploma was put on hold after asking for a breakdown.
“It was put on hold only until the student was interviewed. There was just a need to call the student to be able to explain the proper process of airing grievances. Afterwards, a disciplinary case was not even necessary,” Albela explained.
In addition, a TomasinoWeb artist was summoned to the SWDB office for illustrating an Artlet whose uniform had messages from friends written on it.
Albela added that the illustrator was not punished and the art was not taken down; she only asked for a written statement “just in case [the Office for Student Affairs] would hold the local SWDB accountable.”
Appeal for truth
After the Twitter dispute a month ago, Gregorio and other Journalism alumni wrote a formal letter to Albela and Dean Michael Anthony Vasco on the matter.
“We are doing this because graduating students are afraid that the administration would lash out at them and unfairly mete out penalties for demanding truth and transparency. […] Hence, it puzzles us why the Faculty is punishing students for doing something that the Church and the University explicitly promotes: truth,” the statement read.
Albela, however, denied receiving such a letter.
The letter detailed the entirety of the students’ concerns with the pilgrimage fee along with the administration’s refusal to provide a breakdown, in addition to claiming that Dean Vasco had yelled at students asking for the breakdown twice.
No reaction towards the letter has been released by administrators since its submission last May 28. F