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LA approves Student Census institutionalization, rejects proposed USG office hours

In their session last September 3, the Legislative Assembly (LA) led by BLAZE2021 LA Representative Sophia Beltrano, who temporarily took on the role of Chief Legislator Officer in Charge, approved the establishment of the Student Census. Meanwhile, a proposal for USG office hours, which was tabled in a previous session, was overruled. 

USG office hours deferred

The proposed USG office hours was shelved last session due to the ambiguity of the penalties for officers who will violate it, among other concerns. 75th ENG LA Representative Veronica Espino shared that, upon consultation with the Judiciary Department, the proponents decided against including any penalties. The Department had also suggested that the measure, if passed, should be added to the USG Administrative Code.

EXCEL2021 LA Representative Katkat Ignacio queried the proponents again on whether there will be consequences for any officers that set a meeting beyond the office hours. Beltrano reiterated Section 4 of their resolution, which says that “Units may work beyond their stipulated office hours, provided that the involved parties have given their consent to do so.”

With majority of legislators in abstention, the resolution was unapproved.

Catering to students’ evolving needs

Spearheaded by the USG Office of the President (OPRES) and guided by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), the call for the institutionalization of the Student Census aims to corroborate student-led policies. FAST2018 LA Representative Marts Madrelejos, one of the bill’s authors, specified in the resolution that the data to be collected is “used to craft better student-led policies, that of which is more targetive, direct, and responsive to the evolving needs of the student body.” 

OPRES Chief Legal Counsel Margarita Samonte explained that one of its aims is to do away with collating annual and bi-term student surveys and conduct it instead at the onset of the academic year. The data collected would be consolidated in a single database through Google Forms and Google Drive. 

In coordination with OSA, USG President Maegan Ragudo, who was present for the session, asserted that this decision was “carefully consulted” with the Dean of Student Affairs (DSA) and the Data Privacy Office. Ragudo also assured that the proposal is in line with the University’s data privacy guidelines and the Data Privacy Act of the Philippines. 

Further, Samonte highlighted the Data Custodian, the chief owner of the personal data of students, would be the DSA. While the Data Custodian has primary access to the data, other offices and persons may also have access to either the raw or summarized data. 

Raw data is solely available to the DSA, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, the USG Executive Board, the Office of Counselling and Career Services, the Information Technology Services Office Director, and the Center for Social Concern and Action Director. The summarized data, meanwhile, may be authorized to anyone upon written request. 

Espino queried on what grounds a student can be granted access to summarized data. Samonte responded that permission would be given depending on the nature of the project and the purpose of the data requested.  

The bill was approved with 15 votes in favor. 

Revisions of USG operational funds towards LSWP passed 

The amended voluntary allocation of USG operational funds toward the Lasallian Student Welfare Program (LSWP) was passed with 15 votes in favor. 

In a previous LA session, legislators agreed to give the USG the discretion to donate their unused operational funds to LSWP instead of returning it to DLSU. 

After consulting with the Executive Board (EB) and college presidents, amendments needed to be made to the policy as a majority of the officers were in favor of donating a percentage of the funds to LSWP instead. The EB also advised that the percentages must be specified in a memorandum of agreement. 

Other revisions include a rule that the remaining operational funds from USG units must be returned to the Office of the Executive Treasurer (OTREAS), who then has full authority to make proper allocations to the welfare program. 

Ignacio asked why such donations only cater to a percentage of the funds, to which Espino explained that this is because OTREAS uses some of the leftover funds to pay off debts and programs with delayed settlements.

By Kim Balasabas

By Patricia Fallarme

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