UniversitySexual harassment manifesto unanimously passed by LA
Sexual harassment manifesto unanimously passed by LA
February 5, 2019
February 5, 2019

After two sessions of intense debate, the Legislative Assembly (LA) unanimously passed a resolution for a manifesto on the recent sexual harassment incident during their session last February 4. The statement was in response to an article published by The LaSallian last January 10 that highlighted claims of sexual harassment against a DLSU professor.

In their previous session on January 21, the assembly was unable to close out concerns with the manifesto due to the lack of data to back their stance. Issues with phrasing and paragraph structuring also hindered their efforts as representatives focused on ensuring that the message was sensitive to victims and grammatically sound.

Before discussions on the manifesto proceeded, the LA agreed to limit debates on each paragraph to no more than 10 minutes. As Chief Legislator Stella Santos pointed out, most of the changes sought for was already discussed and addressed in the prior session. Legislators, however, still toiled over word choices and grammatical changes in the manifesto.



One of the backing evidences the proponents of the resolution had used was a formal survey that gauged students’ sentiments on the issue. Based on 96 responses gathered, it revealed that 74 percent were unaware of the actions the University administration has taken to address the issue.

However, what was alarming in the survey, as the manifesto stated, was the finding that 10.4 percent of respondents have reportedly experienced sexual misconduct on campuseither from professors, University staff, or even their own colleagues.

When asked about what actions the community can take to ensure student safety, the respondents of the survey recommended increasing security and closed-circuit television cameras on campus, holding seminars to educate individuals on proper conduct, and creating a safe space within DLSU where victims can speak freely with no judgment. With this, the proponents called for members of the Lasallian community to play an active role in fighting sexual harassment.

However, Santos cautioned the proponents to be critical of the words they want to communicate with due to the sensitivity of the issue. Other representatives opined that the tone of the manifesto should encourage victims to speak up, which will eventually contribute to building a healthy and safe space in the University.



Approval not needed?

One of the roadblocks raised in the last LA session was the processing of the formal survey through the Department of Activity Approval and Monitoring (DAAM), which the proponents claimed would cause delay to the release of the manifesto.

In response to this concern, CATCH2T19 representative Christian Alderite revealed that after discussions with the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment (SLIFE), they have agreed to “smoothen out the process” to avoid delays in their release.  Instead of having to go through DAAM, surveys and other data gathering instruments constructed by the LA can instead be directly submitted to SLIFE since in the current process, the reports DAAM receives would still be coursed through SLIFE.

However, Alderite clarified that this does not necessarily mean that they need to take the advice of the office for all requirements. Manifestos, he stated, can be released without having to request for SLIFE’s approval.

In the case of the sexual harassment manifesto, they planned to disseminate the document as soon as possible, but noted that it will first be forwarded to the office “out of respect” to show that they had requested approval. “But if they don’t respond at all, or [if] it takes them too slowly to respond, we’ll just post it (the manifesto) anyway,” Alderite added.

Despite not needing to request approval for manifestos, they are looking into working closely with SLIFE and the Center for Social Concern and Action in terms of other activities. In commemoration of the People Power Revolution this February, the LA is open to the possibility of organizing a mobilization effort, and the support from the two offices would help with their initiative.

Along with this, they plan to release a manifesto regarding the anniversary of People Power in conjunction with other pressing issues. Alderite stated that the LA will cooperate with the Office of the Vice President for External Affairs in creating activities that spread awareness of the historic event.



Other concerns

EDGE2018 LA Representative Sam Narbuada expressed her intent to resign from her post after baring to the assembly her family’s plans to move to Canada. She admitted that she originally intended to finish her term and leave at the end of the academic year, but due to her immediate need to migrate out of the country, she decided it was best to resign early to give her replacementwho has yet to be determinedample time to adjust to the role.

The resolution passed, with 17 legislators voting in favor of her resignation and three voting against.

The LA had also moved to assign their recently elected representatives to committees. 70th ENG representative Angelo Chupeco and FOCUS2018 representative Nikhil Santwani were assigned under the Students’ Rights and Welfare Committee; Krisvin Briones of FAST2018, Harriet Gallentes of BLAZE2021, Shawn David of BLAZE2017, and Nathan Quach of 73rd ENG were placed under the Rules and Policies Committee; and Gabriel Minamidez of CATCH2T22 was inducted into the National Affairs Committee.

With reports from Ramon Castañeda