The Students’ Magna Carta
October 20, 2007 Leave a comment
Right now, discussions of the Magna Carta of Students’ Rights of UST are underway, since it is in the process of publicity and information drive. And since it is in this process, now is the time to have our voices heard on this particular concern.
The concept of a tenets of students’ rights is a noble concept. It must be applauded and must be pursued by student councils and other student organizations looking after student interest. Therefore, this issue must be discussed thoroughly and all sectors of the university must be involved, from its conceptualization up to its ratification.
If my research serves me right, this document was first produced in 2003 with the primary objective of protecting every Thomasian against pertinent abuses against them: from unjust giving of grades, up to every students’ right to free expression. However, due to intensive discussions or just by negligence, it took long. But the concept was simple; to produce a document that will ultimately be on the side of the students at all cost.
The Magna Carta, at first glance, seems to be a promising document.It contains all the rights we must have and all the things we should be protected or immuned from.
But if you look at it closely, there are some systemic flaws in he document. And in my opinion, the flaws are as follows:
1. That the Magna Carta must be a purely student document and no administrative intervention of any kind must occur. From its beginning up to its end, the sole decision-makers on its content must be the students. Since we are the people involved, then we must decide.
2. That the Magna Carta earned itself a badge of lame duck”ness”. It is not the strong type we envisioned, since there is stil higher university law above it. “Magna Carta” literally means “Supreme Charter“, then, it must be the highest statutory authority in terms of students’ rights. But if it conflicts with other university statutes, it ends up losing its ground.
3. That the Magna Carta is a very convenient excuse for SC’s who are doing nothing. They can easily hide under the cloak that they are working on its eventual completion. In my opinion, the Magna Carta only needs attention of one officer and not the entire board.
4. That the Magna Carta never included consultations regarding its content while in the stage of construction.
Given these, it is rather difficult for the students to fully understand its content. I think now is the time to repair whatever wrong was done.
And as my critics say that I just blah without proposing solutions, I propose that we handle the Magna Carta this way:
1. Let us begin discussing this at the classroom level and begin making the students realize how important these rights are. As SC’s, they are mandated to facilitate these discussions and I believe that after consultations, this will yield its initial success.
2. After determining which rights are commonly violated and which rights are not protected by any university statute, let us altogether begin constructing a new, and stronger document.
3. After a sample has been done, return it to the classroom level for debates. Let the stakeholders debate among themselves.
4. Put it on ratification.