Head to head: Jian Medina-Cue, Rai Nivales contend for CLA presidency


As the largest college in the University, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is home to different courses with different needs. With the pandemic severely limiting the learning experiences of students, CLA presidential candidates Jian Medina-Cue of Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) and Rai Nivales of Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) are more than ready to take on the challenge.

The LaSallian: What part of your background do you think contributes the most to making you a capable college president?

Jian Medina-Cue (Tapat): I think it’s really a matter of both competence and character. I was lucky enough to be involved in numerous organizations and holding key positions there while being able to serve the student body. I was able to develop myself and grow alongside my team and it made me realize that when it comes to leading a college and leading a team, it should be all about growth, who we empower, who we’re serving alongside with. We should be not only empowering one another, we need to celebrate each other. 

Rai Nivales (Santugon): In the past three years, I have served in FAST 2018, my batch government and in the Arts College Government as director of project development and external partnerships and also as the chairperson for University events of the Office of the Vice President for Internal Affairs. By working in these offices and these committees, I’ve had the chance to learn more about what the students need. I was able to learn more about their concerns and problems, while also learning how to properly communicate [these concerns] to the admin, and how we, as a student government can provide innovative and inclusive solutions to address these concerns. 

The LaSallian: What are the issues that you observed in your college and how can you  address them? 

Medina-Cue: Given that we are all apart, we all feel the distance of the things that the pandemic entails. I think we can provide  to the younger batches that same sense of security and community [we had], all while pushing for services and policies which will make student life better and aiming for student financial assistance, as well as physical and mental care.

Nivales: The learning environment right now is not as conducive as we’d want it to be. Some of us don’t have access to the resources and materials that we need. Some [of] my platforms [are] making sure that we monitor the real time updates of the online learning [feedback], and collaborative engagement, wherein we work together with the different sectors of the CLA community  to assess the current situation of the students and address their current concerns. 

The LaSallian: You both already mentioned some of your proposed platforms that you want to implement if you’re elected. Are there other reforms that also plan to enact?

Medina-Cue: For Student Financial Assistance, along with the executive treasurer and the USG (University Student Government) president, we’re going to be collaborating to lobby for reduced school fees and define more provisions for our students. I really want to reach out to the students living in provincial areas who are in need of learning modular resources. I [also] want to establish a student welfare help desk so we can be in constant communication with the students. [Another] thing I’m really passionate about is the collective social action branch under my platform, which is to establish an enhanced Arts Fest 2.0.

Nivales: I want to lobby for student-initiated curriculum review in which we as the Arts College Government, together with the Legislative Assembly representatives, will be looking into how we can make our curriculum better. One problem of the flowcharts in the College of Liberal Arts, is  just recently the CLA department announced that the regular flowcharts will now be dissolved. With this curriculum review, [you’ll be] able to see the students’ perspective on how we can improve our curriculum. 

One thing that I will be lobbying for [is] a liberal arts grant, in which we aim to provide scholarship grants, financial grants, financial assistance, and this also includes of course, a pahiram equipment, a pahiram libro, and a financial aid service. 

The LaSallian: Rai, you mentioned earlier the confusion regarding the flowcharts. A lot of students are confused on how this issue will be resolved. Jian, do you have anything to say on how you plan to address this issue?

Medina-Cue: I think one of the most problematic parts of our flowchart is the lack of coordination and communication [between] the CLA department and the students. It’s not only the Fast Track and the Regular Track that we have to address, but the Global Alternative Learning Term and LIA-COM flowcharts [as well]. We have to strengthen our communication and coordination with the College of Business and have [the flowcharts] established prior to students entering into the University. The Global Alternative Learning Term is still up in the air [because] the respective CLA departments [are] not aligned [with] one set solution. 

Nivales: There’s a need for us to really establish a flowchart that we can follow for the next few years, and is able to adapt to any situation, even if we’re in face-to-face [classes] or still in the online setup. The academic policies shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all, rather, it should be tailored to the different [needs and] situations for the students. 

The LaSallian: During the online academic year, how do you plan to encourage student utilization of USG services within your college?

Medina-Cue: We can be more in touch with the professors, the departments, and for our communication to be more accessible in getting [information] out to them. In terms of involvement, building up that community of genuine engagement is very important. It’s not enough to just get the access out there. We have to be more inviting, we have to be the ones to make more of an effort to reach out to the students from online classes, Liberal Arts professional organizations, and fixing the systemic cracks visible in our own Arts College Government. 

We have to address systemic faults where you can find them and find solutions that properly accommodate it, so it can be sustainable, it can be ready and it can be accommodating for all CLA students.

Nivales: Kailangan nating intindihin ang problema ng bawat estudyante para makita natin kung ano-ano yung mga pwede nating gawin para masolusyunan ‘to. Constantly consulting and checking up on students will allow us to determine what projects they are in need of, and what projects that would benefit them most…Once we have studied and gotten them to know their problems, there is a need for us to think outside the box and the possibilities of how we solve these problems. As a college president, I will also ensure that I continue to learn and…to consult with the students, admin and active organizations and options that we can take moving forward. 

(We need to understand the problems of every student so we can see what we can do to address them.)

The LaSallian: What is your overall vision for the college? How do you plan to integrate this vision to your platforms and advocacies?

Medina-Cue: In terms of my overall vision for the college, my overall vision for the college is “One CLA, United Apart”. This is the future we fight for, given that we have online classes and we feel the distance, I think it’s more important more now than ever to be personally involved with our college. It’s not enough to put up these projects. It’s not enough to build up the Arts College Government’s rapport. It’s about being personally involved with the students. We want to be more inclusive of those who are still trying to find ways to adapt to online learning, we want to address mental health, [and] we want to address financial assistance through providing the modular learning resources for those in provincial areas. 

Nivales: This year, or the next two terms rather, I envision a college that redefines the possibilities of what we can do and who we can be in this new normal together. And with this, we’re able to leave no student behind. This can be done through our three priorities, which are what I mentioned a while ago—accessible student services, collaborative engagement in which we work together with different home organizations and with the CLA department. Lastly, purpose-driven opportunities for students.

Sophia De Jesus

By Sophia De Jesus

Glenielle Geraldo Nanglihan

By Glenielle Geraldo Nanglihan

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