Photo by: VSU Supreme Student Council Federation
Baybay City — The VSU Supreme Student Council Federation (USCCF) released a joint statement through their official Facebook page on Thursday, August 27, condemning the prevalent spread of an online “freshman hunting culture”.
In an interview with Amaranth, USSCF defined “Freshman Hunting Culture” as a scheme where “a group with seniority get together with the purpose of gaining access to those with juniority or less experience in order to pull jokes, or even form romantic relationships or sexual advances in a manner that objectifies and renders the juniors vulnerable.”
The statement came after the USSCF received reports on August 21 concerning the actions of some upperclassmen towards the current freshmen batch through social media platforms which were deemed “uncomfortable” and “offensive”.
The offenses were said to have begun with seniors reportedly “harassing” group administrators of “Freshies 2020 Initiative”, the exclusive Facebook page for VSU freshmen, to enable entry to their group and the group chats.
Princess Romo, a 1st year Marine Biology student and the founder of the Facebook group, said that the purpose of the group is to “help disseminate announcements, information, and to establish a connection” among the new batch of freshmen.
Romo also shared that while parameters for accepting members to the group were established, some were overlooked due to previously-accepted senior members adding fellow seniors resulting in the surge of members beyond the target demographic.
“Before, the discomfort my classmates were feeling came from the knowledge that there were already a lot of seniors in the Facebook group. Like a lot. We didn’t act on it since there were also suggestions from some of my co-admins that some of the upperclassmen are quite helpful. However, seeing how it progressed, nobody could just turn a blind eye and tell to just shrug it off,” Romo added.
A freshman student who requested anonymity, shared that some upperclassmen “infiltrated” their group chat and received multiple message requests from them afterwards. In her account, the message contents were first about her plans in the university and progressed to romantic advances.
She said that she began to feel uncomfortable when she received multiple message spams and was called “maarte”and “pilian” after rejecting the messages. These experiences, according to her, have made few of her classmates think twice about attending VSU.
USSCF Public Information Officer Jeremiah Laude, lamented that the incidents of the “hunting culture” was “disheartening”. He promised certain measures are being taken to address the issue.
The USCCF have formed a special committee under the Committee of Student Welfare and Development to directly address the issue and look into cases in violation to the rules as stipulated in the university Student Handbook and the USSCF Constitution and By Laws. The USSFC also advised the students to use social media tools such as block, report, and ban against offenders.
"If in any case they (the offenders) still reach you and attempt to blackmail, threaten, or harass you, then please report it to the Student Council and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services. These offices are more than willing to help you,” Laude added.
The council together with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services(OVPSAS), per Laude, have already established their plans to quell the issue and have executed half of it.