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Archive for March 2013

A small case of religious inequality in UP Cebu

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Let it be known that I write this post in full knowledge that I also was not able to do anything about this problem back when I was in school. In my defense, I did not care much about the issue when I was a student. I had not had much exposure about the underlying issues. Were I a student again, I hope I would do something about it.

I am just here to ask a question about how UP Cebu operates. Specifically, this is about how the management handles the graduation rites and associated activities. I had noticed this problem for many months now, but I think it is more relevant to post this at this time with the graduation just around the corner.

A Graduation Committee of UP Cebu officials organizes the graduation rites. This committee, aside from planning and holding the actual commencement exercise, is also the one responsible for organizing the Baccalaureate Mass. The problem is that I don’t know where the money that is used to fund the Baccalaureate Mass comes from, and this is a problem because the mass is a Catholic service, not a non-sectarian one.

I have asked around people from previous batch orgs, and in those involved in campus political parties. It seems that the likeliest place where they get the funds for the baccalaureate mass is the graduation fee paid by all graduating students. All of them. Including the Protestants, INCs, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, and followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

 If the baccalaureate mass is paid by graduation fees from all the students, isn’t it unfair that the mass is a catholic service? A lot of those people that have other religious alignments would not be encouraged, indeed, would find no benefit in attending the mass which they are paying for. Indeed, even if the mass were non-sectarian, it would still not be something which all graduating students would want to go.

 I would recommend that a catholic baccalaureate mass should be struck off from the budget of the funds from the graduation fees. This would not only remove the religious favoritism, but would lower the rate of the fee. Undoubtedly, some people would still expect a baccalaureate mass, but if so, there should be a voluntary collection to fund the mass. I also believe the responsibility of organizing the mass should be given to the religious student organizations. A government institution organizing a service of only one sect as part of its official duties doesn’t sound constitutional to me.

 I am quite surprised that I have not heard of anybody else noticing this anomaly. The political organizations in UP have always been quick to oppose measures that make the students pay more than they should. Nonetheless, I am optimistic that sooner or later this policy will be questioned by UP students. This might only be a small detail, it might seem like nit-picking even, but if I am right, this nit has been sucking the resources of graduating students for a long time now, and given time, all that money can add up.


Written by rubiscodisco

March 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized