Last July 6, the University Student Government (USG) Legislative Assembly (LA) convened to discuss the veto of the resolution calling for the Tuition Fee Increase (TFI) survey to have a required minimum number of respondents across the different colleges. The resolution was approved by majority of the present LA members during their previous session but was later vetoed by USG President Zedrick Laqui.
The session’s agenda also consisted of a resolution calling for the use of scratch papers and back-to-back printing in the USG and a resolution calling for the formalization of One College of Computer Studies (CCS) under the Computer Studies Government (CSG).
On the issues with the TFI survey
Every year, the TFI survey is conducted by the Office of the Executive Treasurer (OTREAS) to gather responses from the student sector regarding their thoughts and expectations for a possible rise in tuition fees. EXCEL2016 representative Hiraya Mendez recognized that despite the best efforts of the OTREAS, only a small percentage of students participate in the survey. The TFI survey conducted last October to December 2016 supports her sentiments, with only 1,009 student responses recorded in total.
The resolution co-authored by Mendez would have required a minimum of 20 percent plus one respondents for larger colleges (CLA, RVR-COB, GCOE, and CCS) and 50 percent plus one respondents for the remaining colleges (COS, SOE, and BAGCED) and the STC campus. EXCEL2019 representative Lance dela Cruz also added that the Council of Student Organizations, COMELEC, and USG Executive Treasurer Brian Chen were consulted on the possibility of working together to increase the number of respondents and lessen the burden shouldered by OTREAS alone.
Ultimately, the resolution was vetoed by Laqui on the grounds of its feasibility, practicality, efficiency, and impact on the USG’s productivity. “The said resolution is commended for its intent to provide an avenue for the students to be heard on an important matter, such as the TFI. Even though the constitutionality of the said resolution is debatable, there are other indicators that [validate] the decision made,” wrote Laqui. However, he also remarked that the resolution is promising and that the veto gives its proponents room to improve it. He encouraged the LA to explore modern methods such as conducting the TFI survey via MLS and to consult other stakeholders concerned with the TFI.
With only eight of the LA representatives in attendance voting in support of the override of the veto, the veto was passed, marking the first instance of a vetoed LA resolution this academic year.
For more eco-friendly printing in the USG
In recognition of the USG’s high paper usage for printing, BLAZE2019 representative Lia Manalo co-authored a resolution that would mandate units of the USG to use clean, presentable scratch papers when submitting paperwork to the Office of Student Life and Department of Activity Approval and Monitoring (DAAM). If scratch papers are unavailable, USG units must use back-to-back printing instead.
The resolution, co-authored with FOCUS2016 and FOCUS2015 representatives Zoe Goding and Coleen Velasco, aims to emulate the example set by other offices on-campus to decrease their contribution to the University’s waste disposal, as suggested by the Campus Sustainability Office. It also gives any officer of the DAAM the right to issue a verbal warning to USG units who do not comply with the terms indicated.
With the passage of the resolution through the approval of all representatives present, it will hence be included in the USG house rules to ensure proper dissemination and implementation.
Towards One CCS under the CSG
CATCH2T20 representative Adrian Mendoza, together with CSG President Jorge Francisco, lobbied for the formalization of the existing One CCS committee under the leadership of future CSG Presidents. In doing so, One CCS will be added to the Rules of Internal Governance (RIG) of the current and future CSG. With 16 voting for, zero against, and six abstain, the resolution was ultimately approved.
“What this [resolution] aims to do is to extend [an] invitation to the [organizations] to be a part of the decision-making process of the CSG,” explained Francisco. The resolution also indicates that the elected CSG President of the upcoming 2017 General Elections will have the opportunity to create the manual of the structure and powers of One CCS.
EXCEL2017 Representative Nicole Cruz initially questioned the constitutionality of the resolution’s mandate for the next set of officers to include One CCS in their RIG. Though Francisco said that he did not encounter any existing provision concerning the mandate for the RIG, Cruz advised that he still consult the Judiciary for assured clarification.
One CCS is currently comprised of representatives from the Peer Tutor Society, Society of Proactive Role Models Inspiring Total Development (SPRINT), Microsoft Community, FORMDEV, La Salle Computer Society, the four batch units from CCS (CATCH), and the CSG. Francisco also mentioned the possibility of formulating new organizations under CCS, namely the CCS Ambassadors and a game development organization.