In a meeting with student organization leaders a few months ago, Dean of Student Affairs Fritzie Ian De Vera explains that the full integration of DLSU with De La Salle Canlubang (DLSC) to form the De La Salle Science and Technology Complex (DLS-STC) would affect many student organizations in DLSU. In light of the recent merger, one of the most affected organizations is the University Student Government.
De Vera explains further that the merger would most likely mean the merger of the DLSC College Student Council (CSC) with DLSU’s University Student Government (USG). The merger will create one student representative body for both institutions, where the latter will absorb the other. CSC President Kevin Marfa says that though DLSU’s administration had given a directive for a merger, the USG and CSC have received the freedom to decide on the details of the merger.
The resolution containing the constitutional revisions required by the merger of the bodies was finalized last December 6 by the Legislative Assembly (LA). The document, as of press time, is at the hands of the CSC officers for approval. Proposals were based on suggestions and recommendations made by DLSC representatives and DLSU’s Activities Assembly.
The resolution calls for the establishment of “a pro tempore Student Government” in DLS-STC. Pro tempore means “for the time being.” Consequently, both bodies will join to create a transitional and temporary government.
Marfa explains, “The revised structure for DLSU-STC would be temporary for the next few years and would have to be reviewed later on because there might come a time that the structure would no longer be suitable for the campus.”
The new government under the USG, referred to as Science and Technology Government (STG), will serve as the representative body of undergraduate students enrolled in DLS-STC. As an arm of the USG, it will be considered a college government. Therefore, the body would have duties, responsibilities, functions, and powers similar to those of the seven current DLSU college governments such as handling the affairs of the college and implementing activities. In addition, the STG would have to comply and abide by the USG Constitution.
The CSC has a very different structure from that of the USG. Whereas the USG’s structure is similar to that of the Philippine Government, which has three branches, CSC only has an Executive Branch. With its integration with the USG, officers would have to be familiar a three-branch structure composed of an Executive, Legislative, and a Judiciary branch.
The STG will be composed of a campus president, five collegiate representatives, two LA representatives, and one appointed magistrate. The STG campus president would have similar functions as a USG college president, while collegiate representatives would now take the role of batch presidents in the new campus.
Moreover, the proposed system calls for one Executive Board (EB). The EB, composed of the President, Vice President for External Affairs, Vice President for Internal Affairs, Executive Secretary, and Executive Treasurer, will be vested with the power and responsibility of leading DLSU’s six colleges and one school, in addition to DLS-STC’s five schools. Both students from DLS-STC and the University will vote for the EB.
According to Section 4 of the resolution, all elected positions would be open for votation during the USG General Elections (GE) conducted each academic year. Aside from modifications in the structure, several election processes would also be changed, as the coming GE would include DLS-STC’s student body as part of the electorate. This poses a challenge for political parties since campaigning activities would have to reach the extention campus as well.
According to Chief Legislator Carl Au, the merger will help streamline programs and activities of the USG in both institutions. He adds, “The USG can implement more various and unique projects since the campus of Canlubang are almost complete in terms of facilities and bigger in ground space.”
On another note, Marfa explains that student participation would now be a challenge. Events may become exclusive to one campus only, making student participation from the other campus very minimal or non-existent. LA Head of the Rules and Policies Committee Paulo Guico admits that incorporating DLSC students in decision-making processes would be a challenge.
Along with the change also comes the need to adjust to inevitable factors. Distance between the extension campus and DLSU and the differences between the USG and SC system will pose a challenge in the near future. Consequently, coordination and proper implementation of projects and activities would also be more difficult.
Attendance of officers in USG meetings is also expected to become a problem once the implementation is set. The resolution, however, dictates that officers from DLS-STC would only be required to attend meetings once a month. Moreover, the administration has ongoing plans to provide shuttle services from and to the institutions, but no final details have been disclosed as of press time.
Marfa also mentions that although DLSC’s students are responding positively to the merger, it may lead to the loss of DLSC’s identity in the next few years.
The system, if approved, will take effect on the first academic term of A.Y. 2013-2014. Effectivity shall run for three years, and may be open for amendments upon the opening for revisions of the USG Constitution.
Along with the merger of the representative bodies, Au informs that administrative and other student services groups such as the Council of Student Organizations (CSO) and Culture and Arts Office (CAO), among others, and its counterparts in DLS-STC are also underway.