Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Class Suspension: A Battle of Perspectives

This is a direct response to the many people - Lasallians and non-Lasallians alike - who have bashed DLSU's decision on delaying class suspensions due to tropical storm Juaning. I hope these would enlighten many minds, because ignorance isn't bliss; it's an avenue for embarrassment.

Earlier today, a storm battered northern Philippines and the capital, Metro Manila, experienced flooding and heavy rain. Beginning around 9.00am up to lunch time, schools from the north (Quezon City) started suspending classes. Southwards, schools followed suit and suspended classes as well. My alma mater/workplace, De La Salle University, refused to suspend classes at this point, thus starting a Twitter brat-fest and online flooding of complaints. I will address this from the point of view of a former student and as someone who is aware of how the school administration functions.

We Care, So Stay
Perhaps the bashing that ticked me off the most was the accusation from many places that the university administration "does not care for the well-being of its students". This is simply silly to the point of stupidity. In the middle of heavy rains, suspending classes (and in turn, closing the campus) would mean thousands of students at and around Taft Avenue - one of the busiest roads in Metro Manila - would be subject to said rain and floods. I suspect that many students were simply lazy to attend classes, due to the well-known fact that many students just do not want to attend their classes YET still hang around the campus or in nearby establishments. I believe that the logical, responsible, and rational action - which we did - was to keep these students in their classrooms, safe, dry, and warm. What about those at home? You are in no pressure to attend your classes if you believe yourself to be in imminent danger from doing so. University students are young, thinking adults, capable of making decisions for themselves. Exercise those brain cells!

Playing Tough
Some have also accused DLSU of "acting tough" as we were one of the last universities to suspend classes (around 2.40pm). The sky was still bright and sunny - though it was still raining) - at around noon-time. I know this because many people, myself included, were still crossing Taft Avenue at lunch time, looking to grab a bite. Calling it off late was not intended to be an "act of toughness" - it was an act of prudence and patience. There's a big difference between the two, as any self-respecting rational human being would know. Suspending classes early when the day was still bright and that there was no direct mandate from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) would have displayed nothing more than hair-trigger decision-making, something the DLSU administration simply does not do. That's that.

Hypocritical Complaints
This must be the worst of the lot. It is no secret that many students cut their classes. Heck, I used to do it on a regular basis (though in my defense, I had unlimited cuts and absences for 5 terms). I do not understand at all the complaints of many students when they cried out for DLSU to suspend classes when many of them absent themselves from said classes on a regular, non-stormy day. I will have to say that more than half of the students crying out for class suspensions just did NOT want to go to their classes, for whatever lazy and selfish reason. Truth be told, the school is not chaining any one student to their classroom chairs; if you want to leave, then leave. Thinking persons would know if their respective lives are in danger - you are under no obligation to "subject" yourself to any form of "danger". Also, I do not understand why said students feel so pressured to attend their classes when, again, these same students would willingly cut classes for any random reason, from a DoTA session to "just because". Hypocrites.

Perhaps the worst critical thinking thought process I've seen on Twitter was the following premise rationale:

Premise 1: Heavy storm is directly causing many accidents.
Premise 2: DLSU is not suspending classes even though there is a heavy storm.
Conclusion: DLSU's non-suspension of classes will cause accidents, perhaps injuring Lasallians.

Um, I'm sorry, but your IQ is approximately 22.
No, make that 21.

For those who were genuinely troubled by the rains and the floods (this means you were literally staring danger - heavy rain and floods - in the eye), you would know by now that this is not for you. In fact, from messages to me and several conversations around the campus, I know that many of you are in the same thought-train as myself. Thank you for the non-bashing and supportive comments earlier in the day. It helped that there are thinking people out there :)

With those points said, I just really hope more would understand how difficult it is to suspend classes. There are processes to be followed, because a university's primary function is to provide education to the students within the halls of said university. Suspending classes at the first sign of rain is a decision devoid of rational and informed thought. And just to clarify, yes, it angered me that many acted bratty when it came to the delay in suspending classes. Yes, I know I have offended the delicacy of some students, but you know what? Please use the following checklist:
  • What are you paying the university for, if not to attend school?
  • Would you receive qualityeducation by hanging around instead of being in class?
  • Are you a thinking adult who is able to make rational and logical decisions?
  • Are you a thinking adult who is really concerned about your self-preservation?
  • Are you aware that you are not obliged to expose yourself to danger?
  • Did you know that patience is a virtue?
  • Are you really in university, or are you still in high school?
  • Do you like peanuts? I love peanuts.

If only the mouth (and the fingers) were slower than the brain :)

Oh, and when the university finally suspended classes?
The new complaint was that now, it was much too late. ROFLMAO.


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