Maanne Ilagan Lopez
A WORK IN PROGRESS

Think PCU

Papertalk November-December 2008

Think PCU

Some may have noticed; some may have questioned; but only a few are well informed about the real situation of the University. Some had asked me if President Oscar Suarez had been replaced since his presence was not felt for a while. Before I refused to answer, but now my column will speak, the students have the right to know. If you haven’t seen Dr. Suarez for quite some time that’s not because he’s no longer our president, but because the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) had ordered to place PCU under receivership, which only happens when the court finds danger tending to bankruptcy in an institution. Mr. Pacifico Aniag was appointed as receiver and took over the functions of the president and the board of trustees, while Dr. Suarez faces investigations for alleged cases of mismanagement and mishandling of funds. How long will the receiver stay? Will Suarez be reinstated? Will there be a new president for PCU? The answer – it is for the court to determine.

According to Mr. Aniag “The academic program and the academic community (student and faculty) do not seem to be affected by changes in the University. We have exerted efforts to “insulate” the academic program in order not to unduly cause alarm and anxiety among the students.” But come to think of it, does the administration actually think that what students don’t know can’t hurt them? The students may be uninformed, but eventually there will come a time that they will notice changes in the University even though how hard it’s hidden. The truth shall be revealed, before there could be a rumor outbreak. The students have the right to know the truth.

No matter how much effort is being taken to insulate the academic community, it would reflect the shaky admin. Since I stepped into this University in 2005 the administrators had always been proud of the full autonomous status of PCU. Too much proud that the admin had enjoyed adding degree programs and extension programs that they had overlooked the scholastic standing of PCU. The result – our autonomous status was not renewed by the Commission on Higher Education. But up until the Mr. Aniag’s interim report to the court which clarified that PCU’s autonomy application is still pending, the admin kept on saying that we are autonomous, which had actually expired way back in 2005. It’s been three years yet PCU’s autonomy had not been renewed. Why? We became lax and now that it’s gone, we’re chasing CHED. I remember when accreditors visited for inspection, the admin, faculty and the staff gave PCU a major make-over in a flash. Everybody was active obviously to impress the accreditors, but still, our application was denied.

Given that PCU is no longer autonomous, an indication that the quality of education declined or did not improve; given also that PCU has a speck of chance to continue playing in the NCAA; given also the fact that we don’t have impressive facilities to cater the needs of most of the students – what then can PCU students be proud of? Or how can PCU attract students to enroll? If you’re a parent, why would you enroll you son/daughter in this University? These questions are for me to hard to answer. I can hardly think of any. I can see that the University is desperate for more enrollees. According to the Registrar’s Office, enrollment is still, still, still going on. Maybe PCU will still accept enrollees when classes resume after Christmas break.

Supposed to be, the spiritual and character formation that the University can instill to the students is its strength, but now I’m beginning to have doubts. How can the student’s characters be formed if the admin, who are supposed to serve as models seemed to have set aside their Christian character. PCU is jointly owned by the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), the reason why its board of trustees is composed of bishops from both churches. Until now, the BOT have not had their meeting for almost three years. The churches have been arguing (Just read the banner story). And the people behind these PCU anomalies are all church leaders: pastor and bishops. Whatever happened to FAITH, CHARACTER and SERVICE that the University is supposed to uphold?

Speaking of service, is PCU providing its students the quality education, they are paying for? Does our library have updated books for reference? Do our facilities cater needs of the students? Are our classrooms an ideal place to learn? Does the University maximize the potential of its students? All these questions are non answerable with a YES for me. With regards to the potential of the students, Mass Communication students are definitely talented and skilled however they cannot unleash their full potential because of certain problems: lack of professor and lack of facilities. You would believe me if you saw their adaptation of High School Musical 1 and 2. But I also do realize that other students have their potentials and have their own needs that the University should address.

I have called the attention of the department to which I belong by the end of the first semester, and now I’m calling it again. I am a graduating student, but we only had met our professor for out Thesis Writing subject this December. Kumusta naman yun??? Sayang… A month spent without learning anything. A month of waiting for a professor for a subject I promised myself to focus to. A month deducted for researching – in short, a month wasted. Many things could’ve been accomplished in one month. Unfortunately, I and my classmates were forbidden of that one month.

I’ve said this in my previous column, and now I’m saying it again. There are more important things that should be prioritized aside from politics. We are in a University and the welfare of the students should be the foremost concern – what is best for the students and for their education, and not any other political or personal issues.

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