Over this academic year, different members of the administration, Faculty Association, Parents of University Students Organization (PUSO), and student body have regularly met to discuss possible revisions in the student handbook. They make up the Student Handbook Revisions Committee (SHRC) whose suggestions are passed to the President’s Council who will then make the final decision.
Suggestions passed by the committee
Among the revisions made so far, Micah Fernando, EXCEL2015 Legislative Assembly Representative, mentions the introduction of color-coded visitor passes and revisions in the eating and dress code policies. He also discusses the elevator policy and the plans for its implementation. Visitor passes will be color-coded depending on the area they need to go. This is to prevent loitering and at the same time ensures students’ safety.
For the eating policy, they decided to allow the students to eat snacks such as candy and crackers inside classrooms provided that the Clean As You Go (CLAYGO) policy is still followed. However, faculty members can still have their own restrictions within their classes.
The dress code has also been revised to standardize the rules for both men and women and to remove ambiguity in some of the guidelines. For example, instead of allowing straps that have the same width of two fingers, they changed the measurement to one and a half inches.
The dying of hair is now allowed if the colors are those naturally seen in hair such brown, black, blonde, etc. They have also abolished the corporate attire rule in the STC campus and set standards for acceptable corporate attire if it is required for a class.
Lastly, they have agreed on the elevator policy to prevent roundtrips. Aside from giving minor offenses to those who roundtrip, they will also put up posters inside and near the elevators to remind the students that it is an offense and also explain the rationale behind it.
Still under discussions
There are two major points that have been thoroughly discussed by the committee but has not arrived to a conclusion. The first of which is the ID policy. Among the four bodies represented in the committee, only the students are against it. As of press time, a decision has not yet been made and discussions are still ongoing.
They also plan to allow people to use the handicap bathrooms if they are uncomfortable using those of either the men or women. The suggestion is patterned after policies of foreign countries and universities. This policy will be applied in the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall since some buildings currently have the handicap stalls located inside the gender assigned bathrooms. The committee is still deliberating on how to implement it in other buildings such as St. La Salle Hall.
Process of the students’ grievance
Fernando says that both the student grievance and students’ charter have not yet been cohesively discussed. Some points have been touched and given way to contentions within the committee.
The main changes to the student grievance aim to mitigate inherent biases and shorten the process. The student representatives want to have a third party outside the university that will focus solely on grievance concerns. However, the discussion is leaning towards having the vice dean act as the mediator instead of the department chair.
“As described by the administration and the faculty in the committee, [the vice dean] is actually a good mediator because the vice dean might be a faculty but assumes a role that is not faculty oriented unlike the department chair.” Fernando explains.
By replacing the department chair with the vice dean, they hope to eradicate the bias that inherently exists due to the department chair working closely with the professors. They also hope to remove some steps so that the case can go directly to the vice dean and be resolved as soon as possible.
Contents of the Students’ Charter
The revisions are targeted to improve Lasallians’ right to transparency, justice, and information. There are contentions on what must necessarily be part of the charter. Student representatives want to include basic rights such as the right to be graded fairly.
However, the faculty states that this is already in practice, and thus, there is no need to include it. The students, on the other hand, firmly believe that even if it is status quo, it must still be part of the charter for the protection of the students.
Whether or not obvious practices like the one mentioned above should be part of the charter is still under discussion, the results of which will most likely affect what will be added to the charter in the future.
Once the student handbook committee has come up with its suggestions, it will be passed on to the President’s Council for consideration. With major parts of the handbook still up for discussion, a fixed completion date has yet to be decided, but it is expected that revisions would be finished before the beginning of the next academic year.