Rose* shifted degree programs within the Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE) and was in the middle of processing the necessary paperwork when she found difficulty in coordinating with one of the offices involved. According to her, the person present was rude in providing her the needed assistance, despite the fact that all her papers were signed. When she inquired about other shifting requirements, she was apparently met with more unflattering remarks, giving “pilosopo” responses, as she recalled.
Concerns and grievances have always been present within the Lasallian community. However, there has been a recent trend of students airing their concerns through avenues such as social media. Just recently, various concerns and frustrations were aired by numerous students on the DLSU Freedom Wall Facebook page, claiming that certain administrative functions have been unhelpful in addressing concerns.
Late last October, numerous posts flooded the said page alleging that people working in Student Services under the Office of the Associate Dean of GCOE have been unruly or even at times “unprofessional” to students. These posts, under the guise of anonymity, often directed attention to individuals working under these offices, citing incidents where they felt offended. Some unnamed individuals have even gone as far as calling for their immediate termination.
Joey Ylanan (V, MEM-MR) relates with the cited incidents, sharing that she also encountered problems when she needed to apply for a special class for one of her major subjects. Due to some perceived miscommunication, she was shocked to find that she was threatened to leave the office if she did not specify which subject she needed despite her repeated attempts in explaining the matter.
However, some students have countered these allegations, arguing instead that students were being too entitled when expecting quality services at all times. Others, meanwhile, defended that the mentioned anecdotes do not represent fully the kind of service provided by the offices in question.
In the volunteers’ defense
With regard to the claims being broadcasted on social media, student volunteers who assist Student Services argue that these are not right avenues to air these types of issues. Kaye Danesca (IV, CHE), GCOE Student Services Chair, clarifies that there are proper steps to take to voice concerns out, adding that there is a system in place for this already available to students.
Giving suitable advice for filing grievances, fellow volunteer Erika Bote (IV, CHE) specifies that there are different ways students can properly defend themselves, providing the option that “[students] can actually send in a letter of complaint against the staff.”
Bote mentions that University matters can also be raised through the Office of the University Registrar, with Danesca stating that more urgent matters require its correspondent to process their letters earlier.
However, Bote also admits that volunteers at times fail to do their duties properly, urging for students to still respect the system implemented by the office.
Importance of approachability
Making sure that his staff and the Student Services volunteers are as approachable as they can be, GCOE Associate Dean Engr. Dennis Cruz ensures that he is able to communicate with each and every member, reminding them of the fact that they are servicing the students of the University.
Another plan of action he notes is the reduction of “entitlement” that he and the volunteers have been perceiving from students, adding that “Baka naman kasi feeling ng estudyante yung entitlement. The moment they come here, bigyan ng serbisyo kaagad.”
(Perhaps students feel entitled that the moment they come here, they will receive immediate service.)
Stating that there are other ways individuals could raise their concerns, Cruz presses, “If you have issues regarding a particular person or even a particular department or office, I would prefer that the students would visit the office and maybe talk to the one managing the office and air his or her complaints.”
Although he acknowledges that it is understandable as to why students have their reasons for preferring the ease of accessibility and anonymity of online sites rather than issuing their complaint directly to the office, he still believes that there are more courteous ways to discuss concerns without having to immediately raise your voice online.
In the event that the students’ case is still not properly settled, Cruz adds that those of higher positions, such as the department chair, are also open for students to address their concerns, “Unless hindi ka parin kontento, then you could go up. Ganun naman yung proseso namin. It’s always like that. I think that’s the right way to do it.”
(Unless you’re still not contented [with the outcome], then you could go up. That’s always been our process. I think that’s the right way to do it.)
with reports from Ramon Castañeda
*Names changed for anonymity.