UP vows reforms as student laid to rest-A A +A
Saturday, March 23, 2013
THE University of the Philippines (UP) pledged to reform the enrollment policy of the state-run academy as Kristel Tejada is laid to rest Saturday at the Manila North Cemetery in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Tejada, a freshman Behavioral Science student, took her own life last week after the university forced her to file a leave of absence for failing to pay her full tuition fee as the institution was enforcing a "no late payment policy."
"We can soon truly say that no qualified student is denied education in UP because of financial reasons," UP President Alfredo Pascual said in a statement posted on the university's website Saturday.
Pascual also offered his condolences to the family of Tejada.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of a promising Iskolar ng Bayan who in life showed a keen interest in her studies. Every student is precious to us. Every young life lost is a lofty dream snuffed out. For we see in our students – in each one of them – a bright ray of hope for the upliftment of our country and people," Pascual said.
"The past few days have not been easy for us. The news of Kristel's untimely demise has divided us and this has saddened us more. But let us now look forward and turn our grief into a stronger resolve to address the concerns brought out by this tragedy," he added.
UP had lifted the controversial "no late payment" policy following protests over the death of the 16-year-old student.
Tejada committed suicide through deliberate ingestion of silver jewelry cleaner two days after she filed for a leave of absence on March 13.
"With all UP stakeholders collectively working towards reform, I am confident we can soon truly say that no qualified student is denied education in UP because of financial reasons. Soon we can claim that UP, the country's national university, has indeed become the University of the People," Pascual said.
Meanwhile, two lawyers, who both graduated from UP, filed administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against UP Manila Chancellor Manuel Agulto and UP Manila Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Marie Josephine de Luna over the death of Tejada.
Complainants Rudyard Avila and Argee Guevarra said the two UP officers violated the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act for their issuance of a memorandum forcing students to file a forced leave of absence if they are unable to pay tuition.
The complainants said the filing of cases would serve as warning to school officials that they will be held liable for implementing oppressive policies. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)