Organizations Vote on SSC Fee Increase
Photo by Sofia Isabel Tajos
Post process by Dorothy Lee
A consultation hearing on the proposed Supreme Student Council (SSC) fee increase was held last July 14, 2017, at the VPAA Conference Room of the USC Downtown Campus. The resolution, intended to pass the question to the different student organizations of whether the SSC fee was to be increased or not, was submitted by Dain Dacera during the third special SSC special session.
The hearing was started by a prayer led by Sharland Malazarte, followed by an opening statement by the SSC president, Deodatus Burgos. The statement by Burgos pointed out that SSC was yet to express a position on whether they support the proposed fee increase or not.
After the opening statement, the rationale of the consultation hearing was discussed by Dacera. The hearing was held to support the vision of this year’s SSC — innovation and collaboration. Its objectives were to discuss the pros and cons of establishing the new fee, and that this should be agreed upon by the council presidents, the Conglomeration of Student Organizations (CSO), Today’s Carolinian and the different political parties in the University of San Carlos (USC).
As stated in Article 12, Section 6 of the USC SSC 2001 Constitution, an amount of PHP 12.25 would be charged on all bona fide tertiary students of the university per semester. Dacera said that in result to this school year’s declining college population, there is a shortage of funds and because of this, progress might not be attained. The increase was proposed because they did not want to produce half-baked projects.
Dacera then flashed a document that showed the budget and expenses of the SSC from the previous years, showing that their average expenses are at PHP 700,000 a year.
After the rationale from Dacera, the different school councils were given five to seven minutes to present their position papers. The School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) Council presented first, with a representative of the SAS council reading a letter signed by their president, Geo Peig. The SAS Council is against an SSC fee increase, with their reason being: the SSC holds events that are rather unnecessary, previous administrations have not been transparent enough with their finances, thr SSC should work to keep their activities within the budget, and that the SSC may tap sponsors to help them with activities.
The Collegiate Engineering Council (CEC) was also given opportunity to be heard. A representative read a letter signed by their president, expressing that CEC understands how hard it is to work with a limited budget, and that the SSC’s budget should depend on the population of the students they are serving. With this, CEC votes yes for a fee increase, but with reservations. The reservations include that the fee increase should have a reasonable price, and that the student body should be well informed, with CEC urging the SSC to practice transparency.
The School of Health Care and Professions (SHCP) Council representative also read a letter from their president, saying that they held a survey on the proposed fee increase. Majority disagreed to the proposal, expressing that the SSC should actually be against any fee increases.
The School of Law and Governance (SLG) Council representative said that they tried to get a statement from LEX Circle, but they have gotten no response, thus the stand of LEX Circle remains unknown. However, the SLG Council, during their general assembly, gave out surveys on the proposed increase, with 57 students voting against it, 33 agreeing, and one abstaining from the vote.
After the different councils presented their position paper, the official student publication of the university, Today’s Carolinian (TC), was given time to present their position paper as well. TC does not approve of the SSC fee increase, saying that the SSC should focus on the policies, have projects on rights and other projects that do not need a considerably large amount of money. TC also pointed out the inadequate liquidation of the expenses that the SSC have given to TC, saying that only the previous administration have passed a liquidation of their expenses, even though it is mandated by the Constitution. The SSC should practice better transparency before increasing the fee, so that the students would know what they are paying for.
Lastly, a representative from the different CSOs read a letter from the CSO president, Jan Rommel Duterte, stating that an increase may send a signal to the administration that the students are okay with an increase in their tuition, that not all students participate in the activities organized by the SSC and that the SSC should scrap frivolous projects and make way for more meaningful ones. The different student organizations were also asked to vote, with 43 out of about 70 organizations rejecting the proposal. With this, the CSO disagrees with the SSC fee increase proposal.
The consultation hearing’s result, according to Burgos, was that no increase was to be reflected in everyone’s assessment.
The hearing ended with Burgos inviting the students to the next SSC special session, which will be at the Lawrence Bunzel lobby.