War of words: UE admin, students clash over ‘scholarship fiasco’; CHED asked to investigate

Published April 16, 2021, 10:47 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The tension between the administration of University of the East (UE) and members of student bodies continues to escalate as concerns raised on “revoked” scholarships deemed to be unresolved.

A series of posts on the official Facebook page of RedWire, an independent student-led online publication based in UE, revealed letters sent by UE President Ester Garcia and the presidents of UE-Manila University Student Council (USC) and UE-Caloocan Central Student Council (CSC) to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the issue of “unjust” revocation of scholarships.

In a letter addressed to CHED National Capital Region (NCR) Director Dr. Virginia Akiate dated April 15, UE-Manila USC President Justine Jae Calatong formally asked CHED to conduct an “investigation of the disqualification of the students” in the UE’s scholarship grants.  

Calatong also reacted to the reply of the UE administration sent to CHED noting that that the council “unsubstantially claimed” that the university unjustly revoked the academic scholarships of the students.

NEWS ALERT: UE-Manila University Student Council (USC) has hit back at President Ester Garcia for saying that the…

Posted by RedWire on Thursday, April 15, 2021

“The claim of unjust revocation of scholarships is backed up with evidence including the names of the students affected, their grades, and information needed to confirm their qualification provided with their consent,” Calatong said. USC also provided CHED an attachment of the list as “evidence.”

The USC said that it has been raising the concerns of their fellow students who “have been deprived of the scholarship grants of the University without justification and proper communication.”

 Not ‘matter of right but a mere privilege’ 

Garcia, who is also UE’s Chief Academic Officer, sent letters to CHED dated April 12 and 14. In both letters, she maintained that allegation of “unjust revocation” of scholarship to the students “has no basis at all.”

Prior to the commencement of the semester, Garcia said that the “students who were candidates to qualify for the scholarship grants have been notified by the University of their possible eligibility based on the scholarship program of the University pending further review of their qualifications.”

However, Garcia noted that upon review of the scholastic records of the candidates, it was discovered that “there has been a surge on the number of first time candidates” prompting UE to create a committee that will “determine and evaluate the sudden increase” in the number of candidates.

Garcia maintained that UE “immediately notified and informed” all affected candidates of their disqualification and they “were given sufficient period by the University to settle their tuition and other school fees.”

She also apologized to the “disqualified candidates” given the premature release of the list of scholarship candidates with “reviewing first their qualifications.”

On the matter of scholarship grants, Garcia said that it is “not a matter of right but a mere privilege granted to qualified students burdened with conditions that may be set by the grantor.”

And since scholarship is a “mere privilege,” the grantee “must at all times possess all the qualifications to be eligible as scholar or maintain his status in the rosters of qualified scholars.”

NEWS ALERT: University of the East (UE) President and Chief Academic Officer Ester Garcia has asserted that the…

Posted by RedWire on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

‘Outright lie’

However, Garcia’s reply to CHED regarding the issue did not sit well with the student representatives.

In a separate letter dated April 15, UE-Caloocan Central Student Council (CSC) President Saida Manap also called out Garcia for her statement.

“The President’s remark that the council’s claims have no basis is an outright lie,” Manap said in a letter to also addressed to Akiate – noting that the University did not “inform the students in a timely and appropriate manner about sudden changes in the scholarship policy.”

Manap also alleged that there was “no official memorandum or announcement to that effect” and if the concerned students did not inquire, “they would not have been given due notice that they had already been removed from the roster of academic scholars.”

The CSC president also noted that many of the students affected have “already been striving long before the current semester based on the institution’s guarantee of a scholarship.”

BREAKING: UE-Caloocan Central Student Council (CSC) has slammed President Ester Garcia for her statement that the…

Posted by RedWire on Thursday, April 15, 2021