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USG office hours proposed, Students’ Charter amended in LA session

In a special Legislative Assembly (LA) session earlier today, August 24, legislators proposed a requirement for units of the University Student Government (USG) to set office hours anytime between 7:30 am to 10 pm every Monday to Friday and 8 am to 3 pm every Saturday.

The amendments to the USG Students’ Charter were also finally passed after being tabled in the previous session.

Proposed USG office hours

Under the proposal, USG units’ workload, including official meetings, processing of documents, assignment and submission of deliverables, and consultations will only be allowed during set office hours. Chief Legislator Giorgina Escoto, one of the bill’s authors, explained that it aims to “generalize the office hours of the entire USG,” while giving offices the flexibility to work at their preferred time and duration as long as it is within the given timeframe.

Exceptions, however, apply to emergencies such as natural disasters and calamities, urgent student services concerns, and national emergencies. 

Escoto clarified that the rule was proposed to create “a definite boundary on whether or not other people will be giving us work to do.” BLAZE2023 LA Representative Bryan Reyes also remarked that it will provide “work-life balance.”

“We want to respect the work and life boundaries of USG student-leaders. This is because our job is stressful enough, and usually, we will have to deal with burnout,” Escoto added.

Per the proposal, violations will be subject to investigations by the Judiciary, but it does not give definite sanctions. Reyes merely noted that the penalties will depend on the nature and findings of the investigation.

The bill, however, was tabled after several LA members took issue with it. FAST2018 LA Representative Marts Madrelejos, for one, called the measure “vague” for not specifying how violating officers will be penalized. Aeneas DR Hernandez of EXCEL2022 and Celina Vidal of FOCUS2018 also expressed concern over the proposal not setting minimum work hours.

The proponents will be looking into amending the bill to address the concerns raised by other legislators.

Students’ Charter changes passed

The amended USG Students’ Charter was passed with a 20-0-0 vote.

Changes include additions to students’ rights, such as negotiating adjustments with professors in the event of calamities, receiving sufficient information on academic assessments and class standing, and accessing safe spaces and mental health services from the University.

Also added were provisions on handling grievances related to gender-based sexual harassment and discrimination, which are to be handled according to the University Safe Spaces Policy and the Safe Spaces Act of 2018.

The bill was previously tabled over disputes on a supposed lack of consultation with other USG units.

PWD assistance fund withdrawn

Finally, proponents of a bill to allocate some of the USG’s budget to an assistance fund for persons with disabilities (PWDs) withdrew their proposal following the advice of the USG’s Executive Board and Executive Committee but did not specify the reason further.

The measure would have provided funding for programs for PWDs under the Office of the Executive Treasurer and would have covered all students recognized as PWDs by law.

By Jan Emmanuel Alonzo

By Cammylle Beltran

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