As we await the final decision of the Academics Council regarding the proposal to move the University Break (U Break) from Fridays to Mondays and revert to a five-day schedule, The LaSallian presents a list of facts regarding the change to the Lasallian community (especially its younger constituents). Here are five facts about the history of U Break and a brief look into the “Happy Thursday” culture prevalent in the University.
- The University implemented the four-day class schedule beginning on the third term of academic year (AY) 2007-2008, as agreed upon by the Council of Deans. From a five-day school week, the University transitioned to a four-day schedule in order to facilitate the Transformative Learning scheme that was executed in AY 2005-2006. During the pilot testing, the University also standardized 1.5 class hours. The U Break was moved to Fridays, 2:30 pm to 6 pm, and was to be carried out as a common free time for all. Previously, the U Break was reserved for Wednesday afternoons, from 12:40 to 2:30 pm.
- On the first term of AY 2011-2012, the Rationalized Classroom Utilization (RCU) scheme was implemented in the University. Aiding in its conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation was the RCU Committee headed by DLSU’s current Chancellor Dr. Gerardo Janairo. The RCU made way for a six-day schedule, with classes held from Mondays to Saturdays. The University Activity Period (formerly known as U Break) was moved to Wednesdays from 2:40 pm to 5:50 pm. Freshmen students were not allowed to enroll in classes beyond 4:10 pm. Aside from aiming to adjust classroom utilization rate, the RCU was also targeted at reducing campus density and easing congestion, since the retrofitting of the St. La Salle Hall and construction of the 14-storey Henry Sy Sr. Hall were still ongoing. A survey conducted among 800 students by the University Student Government (USG) in 2012 revealed that 87 percent of the respondents were against the RCU. This change did not last for long, as the University reverted to the four-day schedule the year after.
The question of bars being allowed to operate within the vicinity of the University has always been an issue for students, only amplified this time around by talks regarding the proposal to move the U Break in an attempt to curb “excessive drinking” of students during Thursday evenings. During a town hall meeting held last June 10, several students and faculty members questioned the legality of bars operating near the University.
- The most recent student handbook defines University premises as “the territorial boundaries of [DLSU] and [STC], including the academic and non-academic buildings and campuses, the parking lots adjacent to it as well as immediate sidewalks within a periphery of five (5) meters from gates, fences or dividing walls of buildings and within a periphery of two hundred (200) meters” for several offenses, including but not limited to drinking of liquor or alcoholic beverages in public establishments, as per provision 22.214.171.124.
- According to Republic Act 1224 (1955), the establishment, maintenance, and operation of bars, clubs, billiard pools, and similar places can be prohibited within a 50-lineal mile radius of schools, hospitals, and churches. In an article published by The LaSallian in 2010, it was specified that to measure the radius of the University, trapezoidal-triangular in shape, the campus should be divided into three geometrical figures. “The total area of DLSU from its center is approximately 70 meters; the concerned drinking establishments do not lie along the 50 linear meters limitation,” Geronimo Alsol, head party of the Drafting and Surveys Division of the Manila City Hall, was quoted. “For as long as DLSU expands its campus, the 50 meter distance becomes more futile,” he stated. Furthermore, it was noted that the University, through its Safety and Security Office, could not apprehend drinking establishments near campus because they had valid business permits.
- In February 2015, several bars around Taft were raided by policemen from the Manila Police District. Of 29 detained minors, only one was proven to be from DLSU. It was reported that the establishments were to be checked by the Manila City’s Bureau of Permits because of serving alcoholic beverages to minors. The said bars were temporarily closed down in the days that followed the raid, but have since resumed operation and remain open to the public at present.
The Academics Council is set to release its final decision this month.