UPLB UNIVERSITY STUDENT COUNCIL (UPLB-USC)
PRESS RELEASE / FEBRUARY 10, 2010
UPLB Chancellor halts event, declares Febfair ‘illegal’; Students decry campus repression
After a series of protest barricades in previous days to push for the conduct of the February Fair, the UPLB administration under the leadership of Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco has declared the activity illegal and suspended members of the University Student Council and student leaders. In response to this, thousands of students trooped in front of the administration building to demand academic freedom, asserting their right to organization.
Maria Elena Carlos, vice chairperson of the UPLB University Student Council (USC), said that Velasco’s measure is a systematic attack to progressive student groups critical to his administrative policies. “Throughout the term of the USC, the UPLB admin has implemented stringent requirements in conducting activities that will greatly compromise the studentry. We have no other choice but to stand up for our constituents,” Carlos said.
The UPLB FebFair is an annual event of the USC-UPLB as a tribute to the student movement during the Martial Law years and a venue to showcase the progressive tradition of the youth in shaping the nation. This year, the FebFair will tackle the role of the Filipino youth in the forthcoming National Elections.
Velasco released a statement demanding that organizations and concessionaires should stop all operations of the FebFair due to non-compliance to requirements and the USC’s lack of permit from the administration. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director thereafter placed the current USC and former Chairperson under preventive suspension “for having organized, undertaken, conducted and/or financially benefitting from… the February fair within the UPLB premises without the requisite authority and permission thereof, rendering such activity illegal.”
Carlos, however, questioned the immediate decision of the OSA for “lack of exhaustive deliberation thereby depriving the student leaders of their right to democratic consultation.” She added that the USC has coordinated with Velasco as early as November to discuss matters regarding the Feb Fair yet Velasco chose to stand firm with his “repressive policies for the students.”
“The Febfair is a manifestation of the student movement’s strength. We will not give up until the administration yields to the demands of the students – the very foundation of the university that these officials should be serving.” Carlos stressed.
Leo XL Fuentes, former USC Chairperson and Samahan ng Kabataan Para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN) chairperson pointed that Velasco’s chancellorship has been under serious scrutiny by the students due to policies that gravely abuse students’ rights and welfare.
Last January 29, around a 1,500 students and faculty members walked out from their classes and denounced Velasco’s Large Class Policy which may cause mass layoff of teachers and will convert classes from the current 20-30 students to 150-250 students per class.
Fuentes also cited the Feb. 5 incident wherein Velasco’s own son, Eric Velasco and his fraternity being caught red-handed for spreading black propaganda materials around the campus. The black propaganda materials have openly tagged student leaders as “communists” and “terrorists” thereby endangering the lives of these students. Students also protest upon Velasco’s appointment of a military official as OSA Director, violating the existing agreements of the LFS-DND and Ramos-Abueva.
“Velasco’s intervention to the Febfair and other repressive policies clearly show his intent to cripple student institutions such as the USC for being a pain in the neck to his plans to become UP President,” Fuentes ended. #
For more details contact Love (09052125589) or Bevs (09282039215)
Maria Elena Carlos (09052125589)
Vice Chairperson, UPLB University Student Council
Beverly Christcel Laguartilla (09282039215)
Media Liaison (09263992962 or 09282039215)