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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Students, parents complain about Ateneo Law School

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Why the Ateneo law school management did not bother to provide its law students with even just temporary stickers free of charge is baffling

Many students and parents are complaining about the way the Ateneo de Manila law school is being managed lately.

When the Ateneo law school began the registration of its students last August, the deal was that classes will be held at its expensive Rockwell campus in Makati City.

Accordingly, many parents acquired residential condominium units near Rockwell for the use of their children.

The bulk of these parents leased the units over a long period. As expected, deposits and advance rent had been paid.

Some of the not so affluent law students also executed lease contracts for less expensive apartments or rooms in boarding houses nearby. They, too, had to pay the requisite deposits and advance rental payments.

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Days before school started, however, the Ateneo law school management announced that classes will be held either online or at the main campus in Loyola Heights in far away Quezon City.

The reason given is that the classrooms in the Rockwell campus had been renovated earlier, and for one reason or another, they cannot be used yet.

Initially, the management said the inconvenience will be temporary. Alas! That wait lasted for almost three months. The classrooms were finally ready only this October.

That sudden change in the original plan caused painstaking inconvenience for students, and needless expenses for parents.

Many students had to get substitute accommodations near Loyola Heights, which meant more expenditures.

Those who had limited means were forced to travel from their leased units or rooms in Makati all the way to Quezon City.

Imagine the time consumed, the inconvenience, and the drain in one’s energy caused by the new travel requirements brought about by the change of plans by the Ateneo law school management.

As many know, the traffic problem in Katipunan Avenue at the Loyola Heights is horrible. By the time the students get to law school, they are all exhausted already.

Getting inside and outside the Ateneo campus in Loyola Heights is traumatic.

Ever since somebody got killed in the campus over a year ago, the security measures inside the campus got stricter.

Vehicles without the expensive Ateneo Loyola Heights campus sticker are subjected to a long, cumbersome and tedious entry process.

The cars have to line up, one at a time, toward the campus entrance.

There, a solitary security guard gets the driver’s license of the motorist, logs it down, and thereafter, issues a gate pass to the driver.

On the way out of the campus, the vehicles must line up all over again, in a similarly long, cumbersome and tedious process, at a separate exit.

There are two gates at this exit called Gate 3.1 and Gate 3.2, or something like that.

The driver must queue his vehicle at the specific exit gate mentioned to him by the security guard at the entrance. Because the gate numbers are confusing to many (why not just say Gate 3A or 3B, instead of decimals), vehicular traffic needlessly accumulates in the area.

There is further delay because the school employee who has to run from the campus entrance to the exit to bring the drivers’ licenses takes a very long time, especially when it’s raining.

The entire process takes almost a whole hour to finish.

Ateneo law students were unfairly subjected to this ordeal, considering they enrolled for classes at the Rockwell campus.

If these students wanted to spare themselves of this daily inconvenience, they needed to cough up a hefty amount for a Loyola Heights campus sticker.

Why the Ateneo law school management did not bother to provide its law students with even just temporary stickers free of charge is baffling.

The management already breached their agreement to hold classes in Makati, and the inconvenienced students must either buy an expensive campus sticker or go through the trauma mentioned above.

Getting a campus sticker is a separate ordeal in itself.

One has to bring a pile of documents demanded by the campus management to an office where entrance is likewise highly restricted.

The problem about the endless lines of vehicles could have been avoided through the effective use of computers and closed-circuit television cameras at the entrance and the exit of the campus.

Why the Ateneo university management did not bother to do so is another mystery.

Some observers suspect that the inconvenience is probably designed to entice more people to buy campus stickers. I hope this is not true.

That’s not all. I was told that the Ateneo law school charged each law student what looks like fees for energy and internet use at the start of the semester.

If this is true, the management should refund these charges to the students considering the long period when law classes were held online.

The Committee on Higher Education ought to scrutinize these problems soonest.

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