/ 4 October 2020

YOUTH groups criticized the University of Santo Tomas’ Senior High School department for issuing a guideline requiring student organizations to seek the school’s permission before posting anything online.

The SHS Office of the Principal released the guidelines on October 1, 2020.

“In reference to the guidelines discussed during the Orientations for Student Leaders and Organization Moderators, we would like to reiterate the need for the endorsement or approval of the identified authority before any post is made in the official social media account of an organization,” it said in a memorandum.

The office emphasized that students must secure the signatures of administrators, coordinators, and organization advisers before posting greetings, project proposals, news articles, and political statements.

“To make sure that all posts are checked/approved by the identified authority, we would like to request all signatories to put/stamp their initials at the lower right-hand corner of the pubmat. This shall help us monitor posts of the recognized student organizations,” the memorandum read.

Youth groups denounced the guidelines, saying “it legitimizes and enables student repression in the online setting.”

“This shows the continuous efforts of the administration to repress and suppress student organizations’ freedom of speech and expression,” Anakbayan UST-SHS said.

“As part of the largest stakeholders of the university, it is our right to demand the abolishing of the anti-student and anti-democratic policies in the university,” it added.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines High School chapter also criticized the memorandum saying that “student organizations should be granted autonomy to express critical thoughts and stances in social issues, free of intervention from the administration.”

In August, the UST Office of Student Affairs released but later scrapped the ‘Permission to Post’ Form that requires student organizations to fill up a document before posting on social media.