Former AIT Dean and now Prof. Evangeline Ortiz talks to Salimbay about the state of AIT politics, the student council, and the call for students’ involvement.
Few people commenting on Salimbay and not raising their comments, are we close now to being pathetic or apathetic?
It would be better if the whole of AIT would see leadership as a two-way process between the council and the rest of the students. I’m not taking the council’s side but it is hard to engage when their constituents are more or less indifferent anyway. It’s harder for the council because their positions give them automatic accountability when things don’t turn out well, assuming that somebody would actually hold them accountable. But given that people are more or less apathetic, we’re basically digging ourselves deeper. Parang chicken and egg lang yan eh. Is the council lax because students are apathetic? Or apathetic ang students kaya lax ang council?
but where’s the leadership in that? kung chicken and egg lang.. wala puro dahilan nga yan. kailangan may magbago.. kailangan may magsimula.. kailangan may maging handang magsakripisyo.
First, I commend Salimbay for taking up this issue to the fore. Second, I believe Dean Ortiz, being the pillar of the Institute, is objective enough in her views. This issue always crops as a chronic dilemma to student leaders.
There is a creeping shadow of animosity when it comes to AIT student politics. It is carried over and over as a hump at the back of each AIT student, as if our kind has been branded by the entire university as ‘detached’ from it geographically, and similarly, culturally and politically, therefore, indifference towards us is a given. We take this like we are second class citizens of Diliman. We afford to be rendered as such, only until there comes opportunities for inter-college aggrandizement during lantern parades and university beauty pageants. The university embraces AIT as the fair lady who lives nextdoor, and who would return to her shanty in await for the next fanfare.
And this creeps into our non-hardcore character. Our genetic structure is a hybrid mixture, a confused protozoan that clings to any live discipline. The chemistry is half-baked on each side, yet filled with a ubiquitous passion for the arts, sciences, business and with all sorts of fields that we can easily relate to. Name it, we have a term for it. At most, the AIT character is a true UP character, a universalist. But in our yolk, we feel that we aren’t getting the meat of things, just as other Diliman rivals get to taste. A constant push for us to specialize in one field would give us the final kick.
And this purports to a low esteem towards university and further, to our country’s political life. However, this is all a result of myopic observation. If I recall right, statistically, AIT is at the top three of all colleges in Diliman with the highest voter turn-out in every election (2005-2008) with an average of 60-70%. At a time, it even reached 80%, which translates that students, given an avenue in the democratic process, are willing to participate and make their vote count. Politics do matter to an AIT student. I also recall that University officials, then President Roman considers AIT students to have that passivity in university issues. But once we in the AITSC then attended a series of consultations on the UP AYALA Technohub Project (2006) and wrote our position papers on it, we deterred plans to remove the footbridge and ferret the truth on relocation issues of the Institute. Therefore, it only takes a serious lady to stand up and hit the frontrow to be clearly heard in the tall crowd.
Student indifference and apathy is best solutioned with a sound agenda from the leadership. The directions at which students are informed necessarily should come from their elected or chosen leaders. If the heads don’t move, expect that the body will lose steam. This also goes to any organization, once the members see the bankruptcy of leaders, they tend to shield themselves from their circle, our minds lock in full distrust.
In the case of a monopolized student election, a microcosmic case of national politics–of patronage, dynasty, anarchy of families– I believe the French Revolution teaches us the way to go.
Archivald Baluyut- AIT batch 2008. AITSC Secretary 05-06 under STAND UP (that term was STAND UP led). Business Manager, Lakbay 07-08. Candidate for Chairperson , 2007.
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