BulSU Redefined: School Year 2015-2016 Edition

Every year is significant of everyone. Rarely a year would pass without a memory of a life-changing moment. It’s like each year that passes redefines us in either small or big ways.

School year 2015-2016 has been a tough year for Bulacan State University (BulSU) and its people. Like the previous years, it marked a series of events which changed the institution in many ways. But among the many things which happened in the institution, the following are the top two which really marked the school year 2015-2016 for BulSU.

BulSU Officials dismissed after Ombudsman verdict

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Photo of the Ombudsman Office.

Last August 2014, our hearts were shattered after seven tourism students drowned in Madlum River during their exposure trip.

But greater shock came upon us last August 18, 2015, a year after the tragedy, when the Ombudsman dismissed nine BulSU officials due to administrative charges related to the 2014 school trip tragedy.

Commentators, mostly BulSU students, expressed their sentiments on social media because of the incident. They generally agreed that this is inevitable as someone really has to pay for it, pointing out their failure to submit a Risk Assessment Plan for that exposure trip on the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). However, what they cannot accept is them being stripped off of their retirement benefits.

Students expressed support for all of them, especially for former BulSU president Mariano de Jesus and former vice president on academic affairs Nicanor dela Rama, for they were deemed as important people in building up the quality education in Bulacan State University.

Also, this incident affected the preplanned exposure trips in other colleges. For an instance, in the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), the CHED-approved travel tour (Risk Assessment Plan included) which aims to cater to the academic requirements of Broadcasting students was suddenly called off by the administration for self-preservation purposes. This happened after the dismissal of the officials. “Wrong timing,” some CAL students lamented. Last school year’s supposed-to-be travel tour was also cancelled for the same reasons.

In this incident, it harshly dawned on us the law must be obeyed and executed, no matter how iron-handed it may seem to us. One mistake can amount to lives lost, and you have to pay for it even if you’re morally ‘innocent.’ This shall serve as a reminder for the next generation so that they may not repeat this tragedy again.

However, mistakes must be forgiven too, no matter how grave they were. And we shouldn’t be afraid to run the race all over again. Just because there were mishaps in the 2014 Madlum exposure trip doesn’t mean it’d be the same for the trips in other colleges. Although it’s understandable, talk about the way this tragedy brought our school’s name in the headlines, exposure trips weren’t named that way without a reason. They aim to increase our learning by stepping out of the confines of the school to see how the ‘real world’ operates.

Cecilia Gascon elected as new BulSU president

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Dr. Cecilia Gascon, the current university president of BulSU. (EDS BUSINESS SCHOOL)

On August 11, Dr. Cecilia Gascon got elected as the university’s new president. She was the former university president of Southern Luzon State University in Lucban, Quezon province. She was formally inaugurated on September 1, three days after De Jesus’ official retirement on August 29. She’s the first female who had the privilege to preside in BulSU’s office of the university president.

She’s a forester who graduated in University of the Philippines Los Banos (UP-LB) with a bachelor degree on forestry and environmental science; on 1998, she graduated with a doctorate degree on forestry, also in UP-LB.

Majority of the electorate chose her because according to what she said in the previous Public Forum: she deserves the position because of her experience in being SLSU’s administrator. During her term (2004-2014), she managed to pass 90% of its undergraduate programs and 76% graduate programs at Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and University (AACCUP). Formerly known as Southern Luzon Polytechnic, it became Southern Luzon State University under Republic Act 9395 on 2007.

This a brand new era for Bulacan State University, as a new leader shall redefine the institution’s system. What could be the things which set her apart from other leaders?

According to Gascon, she would be stricter in the implementation of school activities, for fear of repeating the Madlum Tragedy. Also, she aims to elevate the quality of education in the university by increasing the number of teachers who have masters and doctorate degree.

It’s too early to judge her 6-month leadership as of March 2016. But let’s stay eyed on BulSU’s current events and see for ourselves.

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