In a Legislative Assembly (LA) session held last September 10, representatives approved the establishment of an absences and missed requirements manual, a collaborative effort between the LA and the Student Affairs Committee of the Office of the Vice President for Internal Affairs (OVPIA). Meanwhile, a plan to amend the Mental Health Task Force’s manual was delayed to allow the next set of officers to complete the needed amendments.
CATCH2T22 LA Representative Vhino Ramos explained that the manual is meant to help students “perform to their full potential without being subjected to undue physical or mental pressure in completing the missed academic requirements.” The collated guidelines, gathered from the Student Handbook and Help Desk Announcements (HDA), will be updated by the LA and OVPIA should there be new guidelines issued by the University.
According to FOCUS2018 LA Representative Celina Vidal, the manual will “provide clear guidelines on absences and necessary considerations, ascertain students are treated fairly, ensure support is provided for students.” Its approval means that the manual can be put into effect as early as Academic Year (AY) 2021-2022 and will also be included in the Student Services Hub approved in a session two months ago.
The manual also includes policies on excused absences due to COVID-19, health services provided by the University, telemental health services from the Office of Career Counseling and Services, and “general advisories for missed requirements due to circumstances other than COVID-19.”
Ramos also reiterated guidelines on absences, specifically that absences of not more than two weeks are still considered as approved absences, provided they present a medical certificate to be validated by the Health Services Office (HSO) Director.
Meanwhile, those who take absences due to prolonged sickness must have their medical certificates approved by the HS0 and presented to the respective associate deans or assistant deans for graduate students within a week after returning to the University.
EXCEL2020 LA Representative Lorenzo Amado also pointed out that the Failure Due to Absences policy is still suspended, as announced in an HDA last Term 3 of AY 2019-2020.
Other bills planned for future sessions
With the approaching change in administration in the University Student Government, incomplete bills will either be prepared for turnover or placed in the LA Vault. Aside from the amendments to the Mental Health Task Force’s manual, a bill on athletes’ representation will be placed on hold pending consultations with the Office of Sports Development and the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment. Meanwhile, a bill regarding Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression will be carried over to the next set of LA representatives.
ERRATUM: September 13, 2021
The article has been edited to expound on the guidelines around approved absences. The publication apologizes for the oversight.