Over the past few weeks, Kalasag has been criticized with unabashed complaints along the way with members of the Ateneo community hardly hitting the service it is trying to provide to graduating students. The senior class of political science in particular has raised concerns on the account that Kalasag has unethically breached the rights of the students to a proper and genuine consultation before the implementation of its seemingly autocratic guidelines.
The yearbook orientations provided by Kalasag earlier this month only involved the dissemination of guidelines graduating students should be reminded of – and what sparked the hysteria included those concerning the redundant excessive fees, the change in the service provider for pictorials, and gender sensitivity issues raised by concerned groups, among others.
Political science students are now disseminating signature campaigns to augment these problems and the Samahan Central Board (SCB) has included the concerns against Kalasag in the agenda of their recent meetings to resolve what can still be resolved of. The outcry now remains to echo one prayer – a consultation with the students on the following pressing issues:
First, that the subscription fee be abolished and the solicitation forms be utilized to raise funds for the direct and sole purpose of yearbook subscription. The use of solicitation forms is not mandatory but whatever money can be raised from solicitation will be used for advertisements. Furthermore, the 10% commission students can get from the funds is just a tokenistic agenda for Kalasag to raise excess money. The funds should be used to pay for the yearbook instead of unnecessary ads and in exchange of the oppressive subscription fee;
Second, that Kalasag be able to provide justified reasons for the change of service provider for pictorials given that the satisfactory rate of such service is in a fluctuating situation. The quality of photos is severely criticized by students, stressing that the expensive payment for the yearbook should be properly compensated; and
Third, among other issues that were raised, that Kalasag allow biologically male graduating students, regardless of gender orientation, to any hairstyle that they deem fit for their toga pictorials. The current policy of a rigid implementation of “formal” hairstyles for toga pictorials is a blatant discrimination against the recognition of individual personal identities of students who do not conform to what we usually assume to be “formal”.
Such impending cases must be immediately given action. More than the internal disposition of the yearbook staff, students must foremost retain the moral integrity of our rights and any member of the University community must respect this if we pursue our so-called core principle on social justice. The issue here remains to touch on how far our voice as students can reach, if any deaf ear is even listening.