My dear university: I’ve put you in high regard from the day I enrolled until graduation day. But I can’t keep quiet on the recent news about a student who was only allegedly punished with community service for beating his ex-girlfriends.
The two young women who came forward showed photos and screenshots of messages with their abuser. One screenshot even showed an admission and apology for hitting his then-girlfriend. He also tried to convince the victims to stay quiet and not to bring up the situation to friends and the university’s higher-ups.
If it’s true that he’ll only do community service, the question is “Why?” According to a provision in the student handbook, a student may be expelled from the university and won’t be allowed to apply to other schools if they violate the Code of Conduct. The considerations for this include “the gravity of the offense or violation committed,” “manifestation that the student, in violating the Code of Conduct, acted with intent, malice, and/or bad faith,” and “the injury caused, or the resultant loss.”
One netizen also broke down the case and the student handbook, citing that inflicting injury is listed along other offenses like bringing of deadly weapons and alcohol, hazing, stealing, and vandalizing or destroying school property. “Are these major or grave offenses? They are only listed as offenses ‘detrimental to peace and order,'” the netizen wrote. He added that if the abuser’s actions are considered a major offense, he should’ve been suspended; for grave offense, he should’ve been removed from the university.
Some students claim that it’s because this was his first offense as a student. Considering what was mentioned above, it’s possible that this was passed off as a minor offense, not major nor grave.
Under suspension, non-readmission, or exclusion
g. Threatening or inflicting physical injuries on another person, whether inside or outside the campus
So bakit community service lang? pic.twitter.com/w9MSSmC1xC
— kif (@kifernandez04) July 15, 2018
But I would find it strange if inflicting injuries is not a major offense, since the acts committed qualify as violations of the Anti-VAW Law (RA 9262) which imposes jail terms.
— LITO LAPIDA (@humanbasura) July 15, 2018
If these claims are true, this wouldn’t be the first time that the university received flak for seemingly protecting a student at wrong. In 2017, a female student accused a male student for inappropriately touching her while she was asleep in an FX. The university’s student welfare board sanctioned the girl for “wrongly accusing another student of wrongdoing.” She was also reportedly asked to take down her post and make a public apology to the graduating student she pinpointed.
It’s quite ironic that this university didn’t think twice to expel eight students for hazing and accidentally killing their frat brother. Then again, this is also an institution that reportedly fired a professor for speaking up on the university’s “dirty system.” Senior high school students were also sent to the principal’s office and stripped of their good moral certificates for staging an in-campus silent protest on a non school day.
If you want an idea of how light of a sentence community service is for repeated physical abuse, it’s the same punishment given to students who don’t consistently follow the hair color and haircut policy. Do you see the possible disparity now?
Let me reiterate: I am a graduate of this university, it was my dream to study here when I was fresh out of high school. But this is quite unbecoming for an institution that promises to offer quality education, serve the students, and be compassionate of their welfare according to Church teachings. They could’ve done other students a favor by keeping an abuser away from the campus. They could’ve offered legal and medical assistance to the victims.
I just hope that other alumni would speak up and demand change where it’s due. Do it for the students who are afraid to do so because they might either get punished or silenced; for the abuse victims who are reaching out and seeking justice. Let’s not turn a blind eye anymore because this isn’t something that students—or any person involved with this university—should experience on a daily basis.
Art by Marian Hukom
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