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[OPINION] UST OSA, don't be OA: So what if the Type B uniforms resemble the look of 7-Eleven staff?

By NICK GARCIA Published Feb 20, 2024 7:49 pm

All it took for the University of Santo Tomas to make headlines was a convenience store selling Slurpee.

’Tis the season of Type B, the alternative and more comfortable uniform students wear right after Ash Wednesday until the end of the term in May in anticipation of tag-init or “summer.”

So the campus media organization TomasinoWeb, fulfilling its duty to thousands of Thomasians, took photos of students wearing their Type B uniforms and posted them on social media.

It’s those from the College of Information and Computing Sciences who stood out in the carousel, as their uniform’s colorway and design resemble what 7-Eleven employees wear.

In a happy coincidence, the CICS students are photographed entering the store, much to the amusement of thousands of users.

Beyond the subtle humor, one can make a case for its composition, color, and other elements being superior. 

There have been jokes that the uniforms of its employees look similar to the CICS uniforms due to the colors and design.

But alas, it was not what UST’s Office for Student Affairs (OSA) saw. Instead, they saw public ridicule, degradation, mortal sin.

Tag-init has yet to come, but it’s already too hot for the administrators. There’s no winter in the Philippines, but there are snowflakes all over España Boulevard.

So what if the CICS Type B uniforms resemble 7-Eleven employee uniforms? Why is it that the latter is almost instinctively dismissed as inferior, that being associated with it is a hard pass? For what it’s worth, I came from UST’s Faculty of Arts and Letters, and our uniform resembled a high schooler’s if not a presidential security guard’s. College of Accountancy majors say theirs looked like the one from a leading drugstore. Nobody cried foul over the lighthearted ribbing we were getting.

OSA, which “takes charge of the campus life of the students” according to its website, ordered TomasinoWeb to delete the photo, even warning that the organization could face non-accreditation if it didn’t comply. As a commenter said, one cannot spell OSA without “OA.”

The organization’s adviser Leo Laparan, who is also a desk editor of The Philippine STAR, said they stood by their decision to keep the photo but had to give in to the OSA demand. This prompted him to resign over what he called a “glaring illustration of censorship.”

UST may be the oldest university in Asia, but its mindset shouldn’t be. It’s already 2024, so it must shed its prayle tendencies from 1611—the year it was founded.

UST has three core values: commitment, competence, and compassion. Not clampdown, censorship, and close-mindedness.

OSA officials need a refresher course. The “OA” that they must instead have is operation assessment. How can it fulfill its vision to be a “paragon of excellence in holistic student development” and its mission to craft “policies, programs, and services, oriented towards the integral formation and welfare of Thomasian students” if it’s busy assessing what photos cause public ridicule and not?

While they’re at it, they must buy the largest cup of Slurpee and a hotdog sandwich as they take in a convenience store’s fresh air—and students’ harmless jokes.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of PhilSTAR L!fe, its parent company, and its affiliates.