Last October 14, students were met with a surprise when the Business College Government (BCG) officially announced through its social media pages that it was on hiatus, and that in its place, the Associate Dean of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) would step in as the unit in charge of addressing student services concerns during the said college government’s suspension.
With regard to the untimely announcement about the hiatus, Interim BCG College President Carlo Flauta, along with BCG Chief of Staff Lia Manalo, explain that the suspension initially was ordered to be made effective upon its release, which they claim led to the failure to make an official announcement as all operations, including social media handling, were “halted.” They reveal that it was with the help of the Office of the Associate Dean of the college that their appeal to move the hiatus was approved, “So our stakeholders—the students—can also be informed about the suspension, and to inform them to direct all concerns to the associate dean,” Flauta says.
As parties involved released no further announcements regarding the matter, as well as issue a statement regarding the halt of operations under the BCG, The LaSallian bares the reason behind the sanction through an interview with Dean of Student Affairs Nelca Villarin.
Breakdown of the conflict
According to Villarin, the suspension was mandated by the Student Life Discipline Panel as a result of conflicts with procurement processes in relation to the Lasallian Business Study Tour (LBST) that was conducted by the BCG administration last term under former RVRCOB College President Igi Natanauan. She expounds that the said discipline panel was established last Academic Year 2016-2017, which included representatives from the Council of Student Organizations (CSO) and the University Student Government (USG).
“We’ve introduced this two years ago to also have a way to process cases of compliance and noncompliance, particularly noncompliance of student organizations and [of the] USG [with University policies and processes],” Villarin elaborates.
Further, the Student Affairs dean highlights that the said suspended USG unit failed to comply with the requirements in relation to the LBST. “They did not go through the process; now the Discipline Panel found na they have several violations. So they were subjected to discipline suspension, and it will only be lifted if they would be able to submit reports, and if they will go through the processes,” she reveals. She adds that there was an admission on the end of the BCG that despite the fact that the LBST was not approved by SLIFE, the project team continued with the preparations.
“That’s enough reason to be suspended because of the gravity of the case din. Wala eh, there were a number of things that they failed to comply [with], particularly, the failure to comply with procurement process,” she affirms.
Dealing with the suspension
Despite the hiatus of the BCG as a whole, operations of all other units under it, including batch government units, are still functioning. “But with regard to the different committees and the BCG, we only have a few officers for the vital committees such as operations and students services,” Flauta states. Manalo reiterates how it is essential for the student services committee to continue its operations especially during the enlistment season.
Flauta and Manalo also clarify that all activities during the interim period such as the Recognition Rites, Frosh Convocation, and Waseda University Visit are conducted by the College of Business Office themselves and not by the college government.
But when asked regarding inconveniences felt in line with the status of the BCG, Villarin emphasizes that her concern is that the new set of officers will not be able to operate, and says,“That’s the consequence that they have to bear. Even if they’re not the ones who actually failed to comply with the policies, sila yung mag-be-bear ng consequences.” She cites that the new set of officers will have to “learn from the experiences of their predecessors, and better the implementation—even the planning—of the projects.”
Future of the BCG
When asked about when the hiatus will be lifted, Flauta, the officer-in-charge of the current BCG interim team, as approved by the Office of the Associate Dean, states that the hiatus is effective for the entire duration of the school year’s first term. However, they were also given the condition of being granted an earlier suspension lift should they be able to settle their finances prior to the end of the term.
This was supported by Villarin, who reveals that those were conditions previously set, but the said unit will still have to submit a post-activity report, the full financial report, a term-end report, the project manual, and they will have to attend process orientation workshops nevertheless.
She also mentions that the said unit is required to attend a series of workshops conducted by SLIFE and the Risk Management, Compliance, and Audit Office. This would focus on orienting elected officers and project heads on University and SLIFE processes, such as procurement and accounting.
“This is to make them aware of the various processes as to prevent a noncompliance incident that may lead to another suspension,” Villarin concludes.
In terms of how the suspension will affect the Special Elections results, Flauta assured that there should not be a problem as the interim team is doing their best to clear all pending and unsettled documents with the help of other offices in time for the next BCG administration.
The Office of the Associate Dean for RVRCOB was approached for an interview by The LaSallian but declined, instead citing that they believe the staff of the suspended college government unit “are very good student leaders and volunteers.”