Students' protest, 'DoS attack' hit UPLB system

Demerie Dangla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2016 01:09 AM

Photo courtesy of the UPLB Perspective

Around 800 students from University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) marked their first day of classes with a protest, as they called for the junking of the newly implemented online enlistment system called Student Academic Information System (SAIS) on Wednesday.

The anger of the students was triggered after a system failure of the SAIS during the enrollment period, resulting in the postponement of enlistment.

#JunkSAIS: UPLB students decry new online enlistment system

"Bukod sa ang hirap niya i-access, hindi siya gaano ka user-friendly.... Nung in-implement po siya nagbago rin 'yung policies for enrollment... Just because mayroon ka pang financial accountability, you cannot register, which is very contradictory doon sa sinasabi nila na may late payment or late registration," said Shaira Cledera, vice chairperson of the University Student Council (USC), in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.

SAIS is part of UP President Alfredo Pascual’s P752-million flagship program called Electronic UP (eUP), which aims to digitize university transactions and integrate online operations across all U.P. campuses and units. 

SAIS is claimed to have improved the tracking of student records and made online subject enlistment easier.

Instead, students said it made their enlistment more difficult, as glitches were also experienced.

Before, Cledera said students were allowed to enlist for subjects even if they have not yet completed their payment for the past semester.

In a series of tweets by the UPLB Perspective, the official publication of the university, it narrated that the students mobbed the Main Library, where the Office of the Chancellor is located. It also reported that the doors have been locked preventing students to enter.

One of the students who participated in the protest said in a separate interview with ABS-CBN News, "They laughed at us from within their glass walls as we endeavored to talk to them in the Office of the Chancellor. "

Cledera said that they wanted to have a dialogue with Chancellor Fernando Sanchez, Jr., however he was not available.

But upon knowing that UP Assistant Vice President Jaime Caro, who is also the eUP Project Director, was inside, they demanded a dialogue with him, but were not able to do so for unknown reason.

The students were able to get in the building by breaking the glass door, and were able to talk with University Registrar Myrna Carandang, who assured the student body that their calls will be registered to the administration.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Matt Villapol of Joint Selected Operations Command said 6 students and 4 University Police Force (UPF) members were hurt and had glass-related injuries, after students forced their entry through the Main Library door.

SYSTEM ATTACKED

The eUP project team said in a statement that an ongoing investigation revealed that the SAIS was "subjected to a Denial of Service (DoS) attack" which made the service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic.

After it was made accessible again, the UPLB said more than 9,000 students were able to enlist in courses through the SAIS.

ASSURANCE, BUT FIGHT CONTINUES

In a talk with UPLB students, Carandang said that the registration will be extended until the third week of August upon the request of the students. Carandang also assured student that their concerns will be endorsed to the Chancellor.

After the dialogue concluded, students left their banners and propaganda materials outside the Office of the Chancellor.

Cledera said they are still looking forward to having a dialogue with Chancellor Sanchez, and ask him to approve petition classes because of the lack of subjects and slots.

"The delegation promises to continue the campaign, and if we have to do it again - what we have done today - we will definitely will," said Cledera. -- with Pia Regalado, ABS-CBN News