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Lame Excuse

Eric Gerard D. Ruiz

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The Student’s Rights and Welfare (STRAW) committee warned the students to remain watchful for sexual perpetrators lurking outside the campus. Last Feb. 16, the Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) published a news regarding the presence of an “exhibitionist” near the exterior vicinities of Silliman University (SU). An exhibitionist is a person experiencing a psychological disorder, which causes the person to expose his/her genitals in public.

The women involved in the issue saw the exhibitionist last Jan. 31. The unknown sexual perpetrator was found masturbating near the College of Computer Studies gate and also in front of SU Cafeteria. Both of the witnesses reported their experience in Facebook through a status update.

Upon knowing the situation, STRAW committee chair Gilbert Sedigo reported the incident last Feb. 1 to the Public Assistance and Safety Office (PASO). According to Sedigo, the PASO was already aware of such incident. Furthermore, tWS interviewed the PASO Security Supervisor Jerome Pacundo. In his statement, he denied the fact of PASO’s knowledge of such incident. Instead, Pacundo stressed that this was the first time he has heard of it, and that the youth today prioritizes social media to report such incident. He added that it was a “wake up call for the guards” and an opportunity to strengthen the security force.

However, one thing that’s questionable is the inconsistency of the information relayed by Sedigo and Pacundo. The inconsistent statements arise doubt and suspicion. The mere existence of the fact points to an unresolved conclusion that the guards are sleeping—figuratively—on their jobs. Or, there is a miscommunication between the ranks. From the words of Sedigo himself, his “surprised reaction” is enough ground to say that his statement is true, that there is no mistake on his part.

In fact, we commend Sedigo’s eagerness, in his capacity as the head of STRAW, in reporting the incident without hesitation. However, it is such a dismay that the victims posted their complaint on social media. We believe that campus authorities and STRAW should be the first to know of such incident—and unawareness to those authorities is not an excuse—for immediate action can be done compared to the number of likes, comments, and shares gained on social media. For PASO, unawareness is not enough excuse. Guards should be vigilant, especially on areas where students wait while waiting for a ride home. It is a surprise that the guards near SU Cafeteria and beside Villareal Hall weren’t able to detect such perpetrator.

Security should be the priority of SU. Using the “unawareness” reason is not enough. For students, issues like these should be brought up to the authorities, not to the online community. Sometimes, being unaware of things is such a lame excuse.

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