Progressive student groups slam UST for guidelines on social media use

Published August 18, 2020, 4:37 PM

by Minka Klaudia Tiangco

Progressive student organizations have called for the junking of new guidelines issued by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) stating that all social media posts by student organizations will be monitored by the administration.

(Photo from NUSP President Raoul Manuel)

The UST Office for Student Affairs (OSA) issued a list of “guidelines in the responsible use of social media” in its memorandum dated Aug. 8 on the resumption of co- and extra-curricular activities for academic year 2020-2021 on Aug. 13.

One guideline stated that social media posts by student organizations are subject to the approval of their organization adviser using a “permission to post form.”

If the post was made before it was approved, the adviser can edit or take it down.

Should the student organization and adviser not be able to reach an agreement on what materials will be cleared for posting, the Student Welfare and Development Coordinators (SWDC) or OSA will have the final word.

“The organization adviser shall monitor the social media accounts/postings of the student organization. Posts should be cleared first by the organization adviser,” the memorandum read.

“In cases of a deadlock between the officers and the organization adviser, the SWDC/OSA will render the final decision on whether something will be posted/taken down,” it added.

In a statement issued on Tuesday (Aug. 18), the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) slammed UST for allegedly repressing students online.

“The Union calls on UST to abolish these provisions that mirror the current regime’s moves to hinder freedom of expression and speech,” its statement read.

“Regulations such as submitting ‘permission to post’ forms and gaining approval from school administrators before content can be published are roundabout methods of legitimizing and extending student repression through online means,” it added.

The League of Filipino Students-UST also said that the social media guidelines are an added burden to students as it will prolong the process of releasing content, and is a “clear disregard of the students’ democratic rights.”

Anakbayan-UST echoed this statement in condemning the new guidelines, saying that “press freedom is needed now more than ever.”

“These guidelines manifest the anti-democratic system that governs the university,” it said in a statement on Monday. “In the time of political and economic turmoil, the voices of students need to be amplified, not censored and regulated.”