Roman Issues Message On UP Charter

4 October 2006

Dear Colleagues, Co-Workers, Students and Alumni:I wish to inform you of some progress in our efforts to have Congress amend the UP Charter (Act No. 1870) so that it is more harmonious with the current mission of the University. As you know, addressing issues relating to the governance of the university, as well as allowing us more institutional autonomy, is a centerpiece of our present strategic plan.

On April 4, 2006, House Bill No. 5008 was approved by the House of Representatives on Third Reading. It now awaits progress from its counterpart bill in the Senate. While broadly based on our proposals, it contains some provisions which particularly concern us. These are:(a) UP is considered only as the “premier state university,” not the national university;

(b) instead of exemption from salary standardization, the bill only provides for a special allowance for the faculty;(c) contrary to the separation of church and state, the bill provides for mandatory make-up classes and examinations for students who are absent due to religious reasons;

(d) the bill unduly complicates the administration of the University by creating ambiguous university and system assemblies whose functions may overlap those of the faculties, university councils and the Board of Regents; and(e) the bill appears to unreasonably require the full “consent” of the students in all adjustments for tuition and other fees, rather than consultation with students.

The Senate’s version is Senate Bill 1833 which is now undergoing amendments. Most of the provisions are consistent with our proposals.

However, there are some suggestions that are quite disturbing, namely:

(a) the creation of an oversight committee over the Board of Regents;(b) the requirement of civil service eligibility for all faculty members; and

(c) the removal of some of the flexibility of the University in terms of the management of its assets.Last night, I was informed that the Senate had restored our version of the provision regarding the civil service requirement.

I have met with a number of the Senators to express our emphatic objections to these amendments. Let me assure you that my office and staff are constantly monitoring developments and providing as much input as possible to the Senators during their deliberations. We are also pleased that we have many allies both in the House and in the Senate.After the Senate passes its version, the two chambers will convene into a bicameral conference committee. This committee will deliberate on the differences in HB 5008 and SB 1833. Thereafter, their agreements will be proposed in their respective chambers. If passed, the bills will then be transmitted to the Office of the President of the Republic for her approval.

The current versions of the bills are available on our web page for your perusal. In the meantime, I ask the community to remain vigilant for any reduction in our institutional autonomy and interference in our academic freedoms. As always, my office is open to your inputs and suggestions.


Author: Web Admin