Appeal

UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST

FOR : DR. ESTER ALBANO-GARCIA
President & Chief Academic Officer
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
STUDENT DISCIPLINARY BOARD

DATE : October 19, 2012

SUBJECT : DAWN CASE

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APPEAL

In response to the reports and recommendations made by the Student Disciplinary Board (SDB) last September 19, 2012, I, Monique Ann Arlegui – Tiongco, 21, hereby submit my appeal to the University of the East.

Last Friday, I received the memo declaring my suspension for a period of one year effective Second Semester of School Year 2012-2013. After reading the content of the letter, I personally knew to myself that I, as a student and a freelance writer, must speak up, not just to defend my side but to extend my sincerest apologies to the Board, UE Community and its studentry from the great damage the DAW, the Dawn’s lampoon issue, did upon its circulation inside the campus last November 2011.

I reflected to the situation of the students, faculty members and administrators whose faces and names were included in the issue. I put myself in their shoes and thought of their reactions and feelings after being a laughing stock to the readers.

Personally, having an issue published like this, a spoof paper which is highly against my Christian views and moral values, I felt disrespected and ridiculed even to myself. I never had the courage to show the paper to my parents. I knew that they themselves would be disappointed after allowing an issue published.

I realized that though I didn’t contribute to the obscene and malicious content of the paper, I knew that it was wrong to compromise with the publication’s too general statements. I learned that after the long year of silence and agreement not to speak, I should have chosen to speak up when given the opportunity to further ventilate my stand through my verified answers, written and vocal.

Being a part of the staff, we had meetings of having one answer no matter what angle or demand our complainant and the SDB would ask. Even our written defenses were just a reiteration of the Dawn’s seniors and Editor.

I have been with the Dawn since my sophomore years at the University. I have my own probationary writer dilemmas and dreams. I saw how UEans disregarded the Dawn. I heard news about how bad the publication’s grammar and lay-out were. Those memories could have dragged me down or persuaded me to find a new organization to share my talents and add contribution with. Still, despite the persecutions and interrogations, I remained at the Dawn, the institution that harnessed my journalism skills and exposed me to genuine press freedom, to be a watchdog of the University and the voice of the students I serve. I had goals to improve the Sports section entrusted to me by my Dawn alumni. I met various campus publication editors and even professional media practitioners to consult publication issues and seek for knowledge in unleashing the better journalist in me.

Never in my list of goals was to ridicule and put anyone in shame. I had never dreamt to taint even the image of Dawn. When that day DAW was released, the student-friendly paper became a thrash to everyone.

I told myself that as a part of the journalist’s mass media ethics, the publication should apologize. I encouraged the staff to release a Public Apology that would speak to the UE Community’s hearts on our next issue.

However, since I wasn’t at the helm of the staff, my suggestion was just a choice. It was only treated as second best among the list of the publication’s decisions. So, for the long year of investigations and even during the Mandatory Conference, it was still our Editor who spoke for us.

Today, I won’t allow my silence to further increase my sufferings in enduring this issue. I am a fourth year BS Accounting Technology graduating student with only less than ten number of units to enroll next semester.

I know that much of how the recommendations disheartened me, the more would my parents will feel if I wouldn’t graduate next semester.

With my best knowledge, I believe that I write not just to inform, to serve, and to perform my duties. I write because I am called to this path as my mission field in enlightening hearts and transforming minds. I write because I always seek to magnify the Almighty.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out the news I contributed in the content of the DAW. The idea of using Vice Granada as UE’s head coach was really mine. If I could remember, those were the days when the term ‘unkabogable’ was a talk of the town. I used him as the character of my article since I wanted to share with the hype of the artist in delivering a spoof entertainment to my readers.

Accordingly, the findings of SDB expressed that the said article seemed to be an exception rather than the rule. Though there were some vulgar words used in the article, the terms were not used and spelled directly to impart sexual thoughts and themes.

As the Sports Editor during that time, it is indeed under my approval to articles and features published in my section. However, in the case of DAW, most of the articles were written by probationary writers and were submitted to the Editor-in-Chief. I was only informed of the headline titles and was no longer given copies to read, review and revise.

Even during the lay-out process, I was hands off to whatever our Art Director Marcus Borromeo and Editor Xyril Fabelleon’s decision. There was not even a mock-up copy of the whole lay-out printed before the issue was formally submitted to the Dawn’s publisher.

Unfortunately, less did I expect the DAW’s outcome. Since I have never read the other news and its whole content, I myself was surprised to read such words published, and the paper itself distributed and circulated inside UE.

The Dawn immediately pulled out remaining copies at the University gates and withheld giving issues to students who visited and asked for copies at the Dawn office.

Prayerfully, I asked the Almighty for the issue to subside when meetings and interrogations started left and right. In all honesty, I was disappointed with the outcome of DAW. If ever I was asked to sign a mock-up version of the lampoon, I could have disapproved it and asked for a better, lighter and joke-friendly one.

Worst comes to worst, three of the staff are currently sentenced to a year of suspension while two are dismissed. I am included to those who are recommended to a year of suspension.

I write not just to express and defend my side. I should have done this before. Yet, I write in humility as I seek for forgiveness the DAW has drawn to the hearts of the UE Community, from the great disrespect to the University President, administrators, deans, faculties, and students to the damage it has done to my alma mater’s image.

My heartfelt and sincere apologies to everyone ridiculed and put into shame. I know words will never be enough to restore the reputation, image and confidence the DAW damaged.

Still, I seek for another chance in pursuing my last semester at the University this second semester 2012-2013. I learned not just in this experience but through people who encouraged me to strive to become a tool of peace, wisdom and humility against all odds that I must write as I breathe.

I shall hope for the response of the University before the incoming semester starts. Come that I shall not receive an answer before the second semester, I shall seek for assistance and a certification from the Student Disciplinary Board in enrolling this November 2012 up to until the decision is formally released.

Done and respectfully submitted this 19th day of October 2012.

MONIQUE ANN A. TIONGCO
Respondent

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