Last Thurday, March 23, members of the “Anakbayan” student party jolted the school’s inhabitants from their routine stupor with shouts of “WE ARE NOT FOR SALE!” along with slogans critical of the school administration’s decisions regarding school tuition fees.
Student party members such as Julius Baquiran, King Cris Pulmano, and Luke Bagangan, made impassioned speeches on issues that they feel the SLU administration failed to address properly, as well as questionable practices and consequences of the decision to raise tuition fees. They also spoke about the “carry-over scheme”—the shifting of increase in amounts to be paid to the incoming first years, that the school wished to adopt.
The rally members accused the SLU administration of a failure of transparency to the students regarding financial matters and payments. According to the speakers, students are being barred from knowing more about the fees that comprised their total tuition. Julius Baquiran stated that “The administration has been uncompromising with the student body. They are unwilling to grant requests for appointments with them, and keep things under wraps from those paying them for their services. Clearly, there are anomalies that they don’t want exposed to people outside.”
Another issue brought up by the rallyists was the failure to improve and modernize facilities in spite of rising payments being demanded from students. The speakers expressed frustration with what they saw as stagnation in the school’s laboratory and classroom equipment. One speaker even talked about the facilities being used by SEA students, and how it was way behind more modern standards. They demanded that the SLU administration invest more money in better equipment, facilities, and materials for the students in order to better improve their learning, and for them to be able to keep up with modern times.
One of the main points of focus for the party members was the supposed inequity present in the SLU Administration’s plans for tuition fee increase. According to them, the supposed shifting of increase to the incoming first year students is unfair and burdensome on their part considering that the proposed increase is supposedly higher than what was being asked of them years prior.
They also discussed radical increases in payments for each unit of education, pointing out that amounts to be paid would reach up to PHP 500, in contrast to the usual PHP 350.
The student party members also spoke about the supposed lack of opportunity for education present among SLU students. Citing a study they conducted regarding the statistics of student enrollment and graduation across Baguio universities, they exclaimed that less than half of students who enroll in SLU are able to graduate due to a lack of finances and inability to pay for tuition fees.