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Position Paper on the Draft of the Student Code

We, the members of the University of the Philippines Association of Political Science Majors,
recognize the need for a new Student Code of Conduct to govern the students of the University of the
Philippines as they pursue human development in all its forms within the University.

We acknowledge that, despite our desire for the complete flourishing of every student as an
individual and every organization of students, certain institutional limitations to the conduct of students
as social beings must be set for the sake of the flourishing and protection of interests of other individual
students, other student organizations, and the student body as a social whole. We also understand that,
though this system of rules is not new in the University, the old Student Code of Conduct has had
significant problems. First, it was not well promulgated and easily accessible to the students. Not every
student knew of its content and, in some cases, even of its existence and only a few had copies. Second
and possibly, due to the first, the old Code was largely ineffective in terms of implementation. Finally,
the content of the old Student Code of Conduct, even as certain amendments were made throughout its
existence, must be properly contextualized according to the present conditions of the University of the
Philippines.

We also know that the rationale behind the proposed Student Code of Conduct must ultimately
be for the welfare of the students of the University of the Philippines. Thus, we uphold the
institutionalization of a new Student Code of Conduct.

However, we have some objections to and questions about certain provisions of the proposed
draft of the new Student Code of Conduct and even the process of its institutionalization.

First, we seek to remove or amend Art VI Sec 1.3.1d and Sec 2.2.1b or the provisions against
"recruiting a student who has not completed a one-year residency for membership in any organization"
and all other provisions supporting these. There are many problems with these provisions. One is that
they portray freshmen and transferees, or any other student with a residency of less than one year, as
irrational beings incapable of independently making wise and responsible decisions. Although such
students must certainly be first exposed to the environment of the University and the nature of its
student organizations to make an informed choice whether or not to join an organization and which
ones to choose, the rational capability of these students can still be trusted, primarily because they are
not choosing and joining organizations for the first time in their lives. It must be noted that they have
chosen the University of the Philippines as an educational institution freely and even without proper
exposure to its environment and nature. If we can trust that they have chosen the University among
other options well, why can we not trust that they will choose the right student organizations, being
smaller institutions, in the future? Another problem is that the provisions portray student organizations
as harmful to the welfare of individual students and must therefore be restricted from recruiting the
"young and innocent," like restricting children from smoking or drinking alcohol. What the provisions fail
to consider is the fact that student organizations may in fact be helpful especially to new students of the
University, providing guidance during the first crucial months of the students' stay. Student
organizations can be reliable sources of information such as directions to a specific place in the large
University, the nature of the students' courses, and even the culture in general within the University and
their respective colleges. One more problem is that the provisions neglect the right of the new students
to join organizations, as provided for in the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution. We therefore
seek to at least amend the length of residency required to join an organization as stated in the
provisions to at most one semester, after which the students have had sufficient exposure to the nature
of student organizations in the University and during which the students are still guided by student
organization- sponsored block handlers and thus do not yet need the guidance provided by student
organizations.

Second, we seek to amend Art VI Sec 3.1a or the provision stating that "a student organization
seeking University recognition must have a membership of at least 0.5% of the eligible student
population…" 0.5% of the current eligible student population in the University of the Philippines,
Diliman, is approximately 95 students. Certainly, for student organizations recruiting on a mass-
membership basis, there is no problem with this number. However, student organizations recruiting on
the basis of certain qualities and characteristics yet needing and seeking University recognition, such as
a student organization of dancers wishing to represent the University, may not have the capacity and
even the desire to recruit so many members. Furthermore, this system of percentage as a requirement
for University recognition is against the fact that an organization may be composed of as little a number
as 20 persons. We therefore seek to amend the 0.5% requirement to a reasonable number of persons.

Third, we seek to amend some provisions of Art VI Sec 4 or the section regarding the tambayan
of student organizations. The system of a merit-based grant of the tambayan is crude and does not
provide proper security to the student organizations occupying tambayans. The tambayan is a necessity
of every student organization for the sake of its development as an active student organization in the
University and its social well-being as a group of socially interacting persons. The loss of a student
organization’s tambayan will be detrimental to the organization and will thus be a loss for the University
as well, which then has lost the chance to provide proper avenues for student activities for the
enrichment of its students. Also, the bases of the grant, i.e. academic and extension activities, awards
received, and disciplinary records of the organization and its members, are not the sole bases of
enrichment enjoyed by individuals in organizations. A student organization may provide an avenue for
the human development of individuals as social beings. Another question to be raised is whether or not
the disciplinary records of the members of the organizations before joining their respective
organizations will be considered. If they were, then the section is neglecting the facts that it was not the
student organization that affected the members' past disciplinary records and that certain
improvements in the members' conduct may have been effected by the student organization.
Furthermore, this system may promote social injustice to certain organizations, especially those with
less merit yet are composed of human beings and students with as much right to social well-being as
those who are members of student organizations with more merit. We therefore seek to amend this
system and demand a more well discussed system considering social justice within the university and
among student organizations to replace it.

Finally, we seek proper student representation in the process of the institutionalization of the
proposed draft of the new Student Code of Conduct. A Student Code of Conduct not ratified by the
student body will have many institutional weaknesses, major of which will be ineffectiveness as a
binding set of rules governing the behavior of the students of the University. A new Student Code of
Conduct without legitimacy may become as ineffective as the old Student Code of Conduct and may
even cause uproar of reactions from many student organizations, which will only provide more
instability, insecurity, and violence, thus defeating the purpose of the Student Code of Conduct.
Furthermore, it is also necessary to include the views of students vis-à-vis the views of University
authorities to form a consensus and a compilation of differing ideas as a base for the Student Code of
Conduct. We also demand proper student consultation, without which our views as presented here will
only be put to waste.

We emphasize that we are rational beings with imperfections, thus indeed in need of an
effective Student Code of Conduct, yet with enough rational capabilities as human beings to be given
rights to choose, to organize, and to sufficiently flourish. Ergo, we, the members of the University of the
Philippines Association of Political Science Majors, recognize and uphold the necessity for a new Student
Code of Conduct but seek to amend the content and the process of institutionalization of the proposed
draft of the new Student Code of Conduct.