Come next term, DLSU may do away with the current University Break (U Break) schedule—and return to the old one.

“The decision of the Academics Council, which is endorsed by the President’s Council, is to revert [back] to Friday. This is going to be implemented by Term 1 of next Academic Year (AY),” College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Dean Dr. Jazmin Llana tells The LaSallian. The decision, she explains, is part of the administration’s promise to review the policy and decide on whether to retain the break on Monday or return it back to Friday.

Student involvement in activities plummeted during the Monday U Break schedule.

Consultations were done with various University stakeholders, she elaborates, citing the heavy involvement of the University Student Government (USG) in gathering student feedback. The USG then compiled a report, which recommended that the old schedule be returned.

Back in 2017, former DLSU Chancellor Dr. Robert Roleda announced the shift to a Monday U Break schedule, backed by research based on 11 years’ worth of data that showed class suspensions almost always fell on the first day of the week.

Students derided the change—which was announced only a term ahead of its implementation—and the USG lobbied against it. Despite heavy online outcry, a signature campaign supported by 7,171 students, and disapproval from other sectors of the community, the shift pushed through as planned.

Need to go back

Discussions on another shift in the U Break schedule were underway as early as Term 2 of AY 2018-2019, according to USG President Gabbie Perez. She recalls Dean of Student Affairs Nelca Villarin, who is a member of the Academics Council, requesting for a meeting with student leaders to discuss possible plans of action in addressing problems with the current schedule.

Among the factors they took into consideration was the influx of students due to the K-12 program, Perez mentions, as the increased student population would necessitate additional faculty.

Adding to this, college professors are still currently handling general education subjects for the University’s Senior High School students, an arrangement that began during the lean years when there were less undergraduate students enrolling. The return to the old schedule, Perez notes, would help address scheduling concerns with professors, especially since more part-time faculty members will be added.

Moreover, Perez also points out how the current U Break schedule resulted in a drastic decline of participation in student activities, based on a survey previously conducted by her office to evaluate the impact of the shift.

Perez also cites how student organizations were very vocal about the U Break shift during the Convention of Leaders (COLE) held last term, which she claims could have been a factor that pushed for its re-evaluation. As previously reported by The LaSallian, leaders who attended COLE 2019 agreed that attendance in organization-related activities dropped, while scheduling conflicts became more apparent as groups competed over available time slots.

Pros and cons

There are benefits in both arrangements, Llana admits. The CLA Dean explains that for faculty members who handle graduate courses, the Monday U Break is advantageous as graduate classes frequently fall on Saturdays.

The current U Break schedule then, Llana furthers, can give professors a continuous period of work that runs from Tuesday to Saturday, followed by two days of break on Sunday and Monday. In contrast, the previous U Break schedule would make the schedule more hectic since after handling classes from Monday to Thursday, professors would still need to come in on Saturday, dividing the break into two separate days.

On the other hand, Perez admits that there were students who struggled with the new Monday U Break, claiming that athletes would suffer due to conflicts with their game schedules. “Not just athletes, but Culture and Arts groups [as well]. Their training schedules have also been affected by this,” she adds.

Recalling how organizations had trouble making reservations for their events, Perez supposes that limiting bookings to either Friday afternoons or Mondays could have contributed to this issue. “Dahil nga lahat ng [organization events are] either Friday or Monday malalagay, lahat ng tao nag-aagawan,” she emphasizes.

(Because all organization events can only be held either on Friday or Monday, a lot of people scramble for available slots.)

From athletes struggling to balance their training schedules to organizations planning their event venues, there were “a lot of new things to consider” when it came to adjusting to the Monday U Break schedule, she confesses.

‘Students’ interest first’

Perez discloses that the USG holds consultation meetings with the Dean of Student Affairs twice every term to discuss student sentiments regarding the U Break. She highlights the need to continue fighting for the return of the old schedule to Villarin, who in turn she says has been very supportive with the data the USG has presented.

“Always students’ interest first,” Perez affirms.

As Perez reveals, the USG currently has no seat on the Academic Council, which is comprised of college deans, the Vice Chancellor for Academics, and the Dean of Student Affairs, with the latter serving as the spokesperson of the student government.

Nonetheless, Perez assures that they had employed all means to relay student sentiments on U Break. “From the online surveys to student group consultations, we really made sure that everyone had to say something about it,” she says.

The LaSallian reached out to the Office of the Chancellor for further comment, who responded by stating that further updates will be provided “once the appropriate University Councils [have] made [their] final decision regarding the proposed U Break schedule.”

Joseph Aristotle De Leon

By Joseph Aristotle De Leon

Enrico Sebastian Salazar

By Enrico Sebastian Salazar

Contributor of University and Vanguard since TLS 58. Internal Development Manager in TLS 59. Currently designing the new website.

Frank Santiago

By Frank Santiago

Leave a Reply