LAST SIGNATURE. Graduating students sing the VSU Hymn in front of Prof. Manolo B. Loreto, Dean of Students, before he signs the clearance.

BAYBAY CITY, Leyte – Visayas State University Class of 2017 is growing.

After VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin allowed 73 students who made it to the library before the 12 MN cutoff to graduate, the Council of Deans now extends the same courtesy to those whose manuscripts were approved before the deadline.

In a memo from the Office of the President, VSU announced they will allow graduating students who were cleared at the department level as long as they clear on or before June 13, 5 PM, the day before the commencement exercises. Dr. Beatriz Belonias, VP for Instruction and OIC-President, instructed the department heads to submit the list of those who made it immediately.

The university clearance ends with the University Student Services Office (USSO), where Dean of Students Prof. Manolo B. Loreto signs. He traditionally requires graduating students to sing the VSU Hymn before he signs.

The powerful council made the resolution late in the morning of June 9, Tuesday, in a closed door meeting with the University President, Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin, who joined in via phone patch from Europe. Tulin is currently in France for partnership engagements with French universities.

READ: Clearance puts at least 50 seniors in graduation limbo

Academic vs administrative requirements

While this is not the first time for the administration to extend the deadline, the decision breaks years of university tradition of requiring full clearance on the day of the deadline for students to graduate.

Many of the faculty agree with the decision, citing other schools, like the University of the Philippines, that only require academic requirements as basis for graduation, while the clearance can be processed later.

Dr. Antonio P. Abamo, Dean of the VSU College of Management and Economics, said they revisited what the VSU Code had to say about graduation requirements.

The provision in question was Section 353, "A student shall be recommended for graduation only after he/she has satisfied all academic and other requirements for graduation prescribed in his/her curriculum."

"Where is the deadline drawn: is it after the approval of the manuscript, or after the clearance has been signed?" asked Dean Abamo. "This is the first time we're having this problem. Before, wala man gyud (we never had this problem). We don't really argue on deadlines, even during the ViSCA times. (Maybe) we have reached the point, where we'll challenge the status quo."

Abamo said the decision was only a stopgap measure, and the university will engage in a "yearlong conversation" about graduation requirements for next year. He added that starting next year, VSU must make clearer and more stringent guidelines about graduation deadlines and requirements.

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