UST students and organizations unite against campus repression

This article is available in Pilipino

Students from the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) protested in front of the university campus in Padre Noval Street, Sampaloc, Manila on March 22 to condemn the university’s repressive policies. This was after student councils, newspapers, and other campus organizations banded together on March 20 and signed a petition against the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) and the entire UST administration. Rise for Education Alliance (R4E)-España Led the activities.

In an open letter of the R4E Alliance-España to Rev. Richard G. Ang, O.P., UST chief administrator, the signatory organizations expressed their dismay at the status quo that plagues the young university students. They addressed decades of repression and injustice within the university that have completely dimmed their hope for change.

“We have endured reppression and neglect of our democratic rights at the hands of the institution, instead of guiding us with socio-political consciousness and honing our capabilities and character as a student,” according to the statement. The young Tomasinos assert they have persevered and persisted to come this far; however, “enough is enough, the abuse of power must come to an end.”

Repression and silencing within UST has once again become a topic of discussion following the UST-OSA censorship of the media organization TomasinoWeb in February. UST-OSA forcibly deleted a photo released on social media by TomasinoWeb because it allegedly stirred ridicule. This resulted in the temporary suspension of the organization’s operations and the resignation of its faculty advisor.

R4E-España asserts, TomasinoWeb is not the only entity which has experienced this kind of suppression and silencing. It recounted the UST-OSA’s control over the activities of even the UST Central Student Council. “What can we expect from a UST-OSA that views, envisions, and forces our student council and organizations to be mere event-makers instead of actually being our student leaders?” the group asked.

They maintained that no actual student representation and leadership can exist if the “tyranny” of UST-OSA prevails. The UST-OSA has replied with threats, intimidation, and heavy-handed measures to the organizations’ attempts to break free from this situation.

In the face of this, the Tomasinos call for a genuine and progressive representation of students through more significant policy reforms related to organization accreditation, approval of the UST Student’s Code and continuance of the UST Student Government Constitutional Revision.

They also strongly call for accountability for the repression and silencing by terminating the director and associate director of UST-OSA from their positions.

“We stand for students’ rights… We will never be silenced again,” their statement concluded.

AB: UST students and organizations unite against campus repression