June 13, 2024

Candidates of the unopposed De La Salle Lipa (DLSL) college political party, Alliance of Lasallian Youth (ALAY) Leaders, address issues on gender inclusivity, the decline in Student Government (SG) candidacy, and the candidate appointment process in Tapatan 2024 held at the Sentrum, May 17.     

Representatives from the incumbent SG, LAVOXA Group of Publications, Council of Student Organizations (CSO), Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Lasallian Alliance of Youth Advocates for Equality (LAYA), College Student Discipline and Formation Office (SDFO), College Guidance and Counseling Center (CGCC), and Les Lasallian Lumieres (LLL) interpellated the nine of the 12 eligible candidates present on sectoral issues such as gender equality, transparency, the lack of SG candidates, and working scholars’ welfare.

Chairperson of the Council of Student Organizations, Jed Magsino, engages in discussions with ALAY Leaders as part of the Tapatan 2024 panel. (J. Lagmay)

Questions gathered from the Lipasallian community and incumbent SG officers were also asked to the candidates, allotting 40 seconds to answer each inquiry.     

On gender inclusivity

To spearhead a more gender-inclusive community, the candidates for the Executive Council highlighted their RE:IMAGINE project which aims to promote open discussions on gender equality in addition to their women empowerment initiatives for next year’s Women’s Month celebrations.

Brianna Danielle Orcena, the candidate for Executive Secretary, also recommended modifying the institution’s haircut policy to be more gender-responsive when the College SDFO asked for her suggested disciplinary policy amendments.

Brianna Danielle Orcena, candidate for Executive Secretary, comments on the College SDFO’s current disciplinary policies. (J. Lagmay)

“I think that it would be best that the SDFO would become more lenient when it comes to addressing that concern from the students […]. I also think that by amending that provision, we would be able to create a more inclusive community,” said Orcena.

Furthermore, Leigh Anne Flores, the lone candidate of the College of Education, Arts and Sciences (CEAS) Council running for CEAS Vice Governor, seeks to create a more inclusive dress code policy by bargaining with the school such as making Wednesdays as “self-expression day” where students can freely wear their chosen clothing.

On student gov’t eligibility requirements, decline in candidacy 

Noticing a significant decline in students stepping up for leadership positions in DLSL, Adrian Barro, running for Electrical Engineering Program Coordinator, said that the fear of scrutiny and the grade requirement contributed to the lack of candidates this year.

“Alam naman namin na sobrang hirap na tumindig sa harapan ng maraming tao at magpakita. Aside from that, meron na tayong grade requirement and sadly, marami ang hindi nakapasok sa grade requirement natin,” said Barro.

Candidate for Electrical Engineering Program Coordinator, Adrian Barro, shares opinions on the lack of candidates for the student council. (V. Canarias)

Orcena hence proposed reforms concerning the compulsory grades of aspiring candidates for future elections.      

“Instead of focusing on the GPA per subject, I think we could focus on the overall general point average,” she said.

Likewise, Emerliza Nicohl Arce, running for College of Business, Economics, Accountancy, and Management (CBEAM) Vice Governor, advocated for revisions to the required grade criteria for candidacy due to the importance of other qualities student leaders should possess.

Emerliza Nicohl Arce, candidate for CBEAM Vice Governor, addresses the importance of the qualities of a student leader. (J.Lagmay)

“The grade requirement does not measure the competency and dedication a student leader has in serving the student body. I believe that, in student leadership, it also requires the heart, determination, and the willingness to sacrifice a part of themselves to fully serve the student body,” said Arce.

On transparency and appointments

The candidates also addressed concerns regarding the appointment process for the SG’s 45 vacant positions, stressing that communication is fundamental in ensuring the integrity and transparency of the procedures.

“I would like to use my platform to provide students with feedback or updates […] regarding the appointment process for next year’s student-leaders because I believe that they deserve to know which leader could be appointed […] for the next academic year,” said Orcena.

Flores added that the Executive Council needs to formulate standards in the appointment of qualified candidates in terms of both soft and hard skills. 

“In terms of choosing the right candidate, I do believe that the person must have consistency and empathy towards the students. […] We can also conduct interviews so that [we can see] how [the appointees] think and how they care about the student body,” she stated.

She also underscored the essence of collaboration with the Executives to avoid bias, emphasizing that the decision to appoint positions in the CEAS Council should not be hers alone.

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The two-day hybrid voting period begins tomorrow, May 20, with students having the option to cast their ballots online through a link to be posted on Canvas and DLSL COMELEC’s Facebook page or in-person at the CBEAM Function Hall B and C until May 21.

 

Article by Vyon Medina and Angel Chavez

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