The much-awaited annual general election is distinctly different this academic year, as the integration of DLSU and DLSU-STC is managed. The Executive Board (EB) candidates from Tapat and Santugon campaigned not only in the Taft campus but also on the Canlubang grounds; the candidates from the Canlubang campus will also be running under the two main political parties as well.
The Student Council of DLSU-STC will undergo a complete overhaul and will now be under the University Student Government (USG) of DLSU. The Canlubang Campus President will act as the representative of DLSU-STC, but will be considered the equivalent of a College Assembly President in DLSU. Additionally, Canlubang will have two representatives to the Legislative Assembly, while their campus college presidents will be considered on the same level of DLSU USG batch presidents.
The integration of the Canlubang campus with DLSU was initiated supposedly to give the Manila campus what it had sorely been lacking: open space for continuous development, in the form of the sprawling lands in Laguna, property of the De La Salle Brothers. The students will be able to use the resources that students from the Taft campus have access to, such as the campus facilities
For this General Election special, The LaSallian decided to probe the candidates’ sentiments on the integration, to gauge their plans and programs for the campus’ future.
Acceptance of the integration
“We see that it is a good move in terms of us focusing on science and technology and the different courses that really focus on us developing as Lasallians who are active members of our society and use what they learn in the classroom to fix issues outside the University,” says Santugon’s USG President candidate Robert Hechanova.
Tapat USG President hopeful Kaila Astorga gave her two cents’ worth, saying, “With the integration, DLSU Canlubang will be adopting our systems here, but I think it’s more than mere absorption. We have to make sure that the decisions that we’ll be making are inclusive and consider [the Canlubang students] already. I think that we should make sure that the best interests of students are put into place. So we just have to make sure that whatever we have here, they can enjoy there too, especially the student handbook.”
Migi Moreno, independent candidate for President in the USG, shares, “I really feel that it’s more than the logistical constraints. It could also be about the identity of the students from Manila and the students from STC, because the students from STC should feel: that this is their University, in the same manner when the students from Manila go to STC,” he claims.
The policies, rules and regulations of DLSU in the Student Handbook, which had been carefully developed over the past few decades, will also be implemented in the Canlubang campus after the integration begins next school year. Policies implemented in Taft will also take effect in Canlubang; however, some provisions will need to be revised in order to fit the needs of the campus.
“Sa handbook namin may dress code pero pagdating sa mismong day, umiiba. Halimbawa one day pwede ‘yung suot mo pero the next day hindi na pwede. Kulang sa orientation sa students at kung minsan yung announcement sa mismong day lang. Pag ginamit ‘yung handbook ng Taft, sana may proper orientation at magiging mas maayos ‘yung implementation dito kasi naiimplement naman ng maayos sa inyo (Taft Campus) [The dress code is in our handbook but in a certain day, it changes. For instance, your outfit is allowed today, but the next day it is not. There is a lack of orientation to students, and announcements are given late. If we used the Taft handbook, there should be proper orientation and implementation and it will be more effective here since it is effectively implemented in Taft],” shares Aubrey Tolentino, Tapat’s candidate for DLSU-STC Campus President.
Incumbent DLSU-STC Student Council Vice President and Santugon’s Legislative Assembly Representative Nin Talens had another policy in mind. He says, “The public display of intimacy rule [needs revisions] since as far as I know. In Taft it is considered a minor offense but here in Canlubang we consider it as a major offense since we share campus with the integrated school [grade school and high school]. So with that, consultation with the administration must be made in order to discuss the rules of both campuses.”
Another one of the bigger problems regarding the merger is the proposal to bridge the campus’ distances. The Taft and Canlubang campuses are several kilometers away with only the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) bridging the gap. Currently, the average travel time between both campuses stands at one hour, much like most DLSU students’ commuting practice hovering around the same time range.
“There have been some talks with the administration regarding the travel between the Manila campus and the Canlubang campus. As of the moment they are finalizing the proposal regarding the days and time schedule of the offered shuttles,” added Talens.
What the students say
Concerning the merger between DLSU and DLSU-STC, 45 percent of the students in Taft are in favor of it while 36 percent oppose; 19 percent think that the merger does not matter. On the other hand, 61 percent of the students in Canlubang are in favor, 14 percent oppose, and 25 percent think it does not matter.
Karen Unichi (III, BSE), a student from Canlubang, expresses “Masaya, exciting and challenging yung merger between campuses kasi ang daming kailangan gawin at baguhin sa structure ng school [The merger is happy, exciting and challenging because many things and changes in structure need to be done for both campuses].”
On the contrary, an anonymous student in Canlubang believes that DLSU-STC should have its own identity, rather than following and basing their policies and plans of action on Taft.
The students’ responses from Taft showed a variety of answers regarding what they think the betters schemes might be for the merger. ‘Purchase land in Taft’, ‘Treat Canlubang merely as an extension campus’, ‘The Canlubang campus should manage themselves’, and ‘Make a bigger [Taft] campus’ are among some opinions of the Manila-based students.
The students also expressed concern though that the Executive Board from Taft will not be always physically present to help the DLSU-STC campus leaders govern.
Although many students from both campuses agree with the DLSU-STC integration, 66 percent of the surveyed population from the Taft campus believes that the officers in Canlubang should not be under Taft’s USG while 24 percent oppose and 10 percent think that it does not matter. However, a survey among students from Canlubang shows that 43 percent agree that officers in Canlubang should not be under DLSU’s USG, while 50 percent oppose and think it is better to be under the USG.