UniversityConsultations held in prep for student handbook revisions
Consultations held in prep for student handbook revisions
July 8, 2014
July 8, 2014

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The Student Handbook, which undergoes changes every three years, is set to be revised this term for implementation next academic year. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs issued a call for proposed amendments to be sent to the office no later than July 26.


Reaching out to stakeholders
Efforts to reach out to several offices, organizations, colleges, and batches have been made by the Legislative Assembly (LA) of the University Student Government (USG) as early as the first week of June. Consulting with the different student organizations is part of the process the student government follows each time the Student Handbook is opened for revisions. Open fora catering to the different USG units, including those at the DLSU-Science and Technology Complex, were held from June 4 to June 11.

Focus group discussions (FGD) were also held to consult with different student organizations, ensuring that all student sectors were well accounted for. USG representatives met separately with members from the Culture and Arts Office, student athletes, students from provinces, international students, and students from administration groups last June 10, and on June 11, separate consultations were held with the Student Media Office, scholars, political parties, transferees, late enrollees, delayed students and shiftees, religious groups, and students who live in condominiums.

During the meetings, the LA coordinated with the different student groups to consult with them their proposed amendments to the current handbook provisions. “The way FGDs were structured, to begin with, was so that different perspectives will be taken into account,” LA Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Chairperson Micah Fernando explains.

The USG regards consultation with different student stakeholders of the University vital to the handbook revisions process. “All of the sectors we consulted with have various opinions with regard to the policies in the handbook,” admits FAST2013 LA Representative Bea Marquez, also a member of the STRAW committee. Although this is the case, the USG ensures that varying insights from the different stakeholders are taken into consideration.

Handbook revisions concerns common among all student groups were policies on graduation honors, dress code policy, ID policy, and clarification of handbook definitions and terms. The USG is also studying the possibility of formalizing an elevator policy that will prohibit “round trips” and line cutting.


Graduate students included

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) also had its own consultation with its constituents last June 27, during its first general assembly. Led by College of Liberal Arts President and GSC Convener Jose Mari Carpena, the discussions on student handbook revisions were centered on the grievance process and grievance cases involving sexual harassment and publication authorship. Graduate students who attended the assembly are expecting a clearer differentiation between academic grievance cases and behavioral grievance cases once the handbook revisions have been finalized.

The GSC is also calling for the inclusion of graduate students in the handbook’s definitions and terms. The current student handbook governs both the undergraduate and graduate students’ stay at DLSU, but some provisions are ambiguous as to whether they are only for undergraduate students or if they are also applicable to graduate students.

Carpena emphasizes that this year, the GSC “will be heard” especially during the process of revising the student handbook. Other handbook revisions-related points raised during the assembly were issues on standardized thesis fees, on membership in student organizations, and on current policies regarding course crediting.


Deliberation on the LA floor

The proposed amendments gathered from student representatives were then presented to the LA after the consultation process. Tasked to look into and to enhance the proposals, the LA has been including handbook revisions-related discussions and issues during their weekly sessions.

Chief Legislator Patrick Kahn of CATCH2T17 confirms that as of press time, four resolutions stipulating proposed handbook revisions have already been approved by the assembly. These are revisions on the make-up and alternative class policy, on the creation of an elevator policy, on the revision and inclusion of the lost and found guidelines, and on the removal of the STC corporate attire policy. The resolution calling for revisions of the visitor’s pass guidelines remains laid on the table.

After the LA proceedings, once approved by the policymaking arm of the USG, the resolutions will then be consolidated and presented to the Student Handbook Revisions Committee, chaired by the Dean of Student Affairs and whose members include representatives from the student sector, faculty, and administration. The GSC will also submit their report to the committee. The Student Handbook Revisions Committee will then forward the proposals to the President’s Council for approval and for implementation in AY 2015-2018.