By MONICA CUTIN
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — The Youth Act Now Against Tyranny (YANAT)-Ilocos questioned the new student handbook of Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), particularly the Revised Student Code of Discipline, saying some of its provisions are “repressive and discriminatory.”
The group particularly identified sections under Article 2 or Norms of Conduct mandated for students. YANAT claimed the rule violated the student’s freedom of expression guaranteed under the Constitution.
Under the cited provision, the university required “appropriate and decent attire” inside the campus and in school activities. It went on to prohibit “shorts, backless, sleeveless, plunging necklines, micro miniskirts, spaghetti straps, hanging shirts and blouses, tight-fitting jeans, leggings, tattered jeans, and see-through blouses.” DMMMSU also forbid their students to wear slippers (flip-flops) and dye their hair, body piercing, and tattoos on their exposed body parts.
In particular, the administration barred male students from wearing earrings, make-ups, and cross-dressing. Meanwhile, they discourage females from using big and dangling earrings.
“Hindi naman nakakaapekto sa pag-aaral ng isang estudyante ang kanyang personal na itsura, kung ano mang piniling kasarian nito at kasuotan (The personal appearance, gender preference, and dress do not affect the academic performance of students),” said Emir Catbagan, YANAT convener and spokesperson.
According to him, “hindi rin maaring itakda ng pananamit at itsura ng isang mag-aaral ang kanyang moralidad at pagiging responsableng kasapi ng paaralan at lipunan (The attire and appearance of students also do not say their morals and how responsible they are in their school and society.”
He underscored that restrictions about personal appearances and preferences, which do not necessarily violate the rights of others, run contrary to the “attainment of a just, compassionate and orderly society” that the same handbook mandates.
A specific section (Art.2 Sec. 4) of the handbook also requires those who are pregnant out of wedlock to take a leave of absence.
“When it is already apparent or upon determination of her pregnancy, the student shall take a leave of absence and may return only after giving birth,” the rule said.
Catbagan noted that the provision is a gender-based administrative measure that restricts female students from continuing their studies, “an outright discriminatory policy,” he stressed.
He said the rule violates Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women. The law prohibits “the expulsion, non-readmission, prohibiting enrollment and other related discrimination against women students and faculty due to pregnancy outside of marriage.”
The group is asking the school administration to review the manual and revoke the provisions that violate the fundamental rights of individuals. They also urge the officials to conduct inclusive dialogues on the issue. YANAT already initiated a petition with several students from DMMMSU Mid La Union Campus. # nordis.net/ Featured image from DMMMSU-MLUC official website image library