Amaranth, like any other student publication in universities, has gone through hurdles in the past years. We faced a fair share of issues along the way but we were able to overcome them through hard work, commitment to ethical journalism, and most importantly, an unwavering support rallying on our side from our university president, Dr. Edgardo Tulin.
For the past eight years, President Tulin has built a legacy in the university, one that made Visayas State University (VSU) thrive in the global arena with sustainable and developmental projects and initiatives and it continues to thrive up until now. More than these great achievements is also a president who stood by the right of the students to free speech and expression; and we, at AMARANTH, can testify to this.
As he bids farewell to his role as university president, we reflect on the vital role he undertook, making VSU a space where the voices of the students found resonance and freedom.
Recollection of stories from our former and current Amaranth staff
Xavier John Villaruel, Amaranth’s editorial consultant, emphasized how President Tulin made VSU stand out from other SUCs in terms of campus press.
“We have felt the respect he has for us in performing our rights to freedom of the press and of expression. While there are many bad actors in politics within and outside SUCs waiting to censor or curtail critical voices, Dr. Tulin stayed true to the Viscan core values of Relevance, Integrity, Truth, and Excellence. Exactly his resolute stance to embody these values that student journalists like me continue our pursuit for the same”, Villaruel asserts.
Meanwhile, Margraf Von Jean Eslopor (Executive Editor, 2019-2022) recalls feeling safe and secure as a campus journalist under the leadership of Dr. Tulin.
“During his term, Amaranth felt safe and did not encounter any attempts to control or censor the publication. We have published a couple of critical articles during my time but we were never told to stop or avoid such topics. I believe that is something to be proud of.” Eslopor said.
He also hopes that the next administration will inherit the same perspectives of healthy campus journalism that Dr. Tulin had.
On the other hand, Marielle Angelica Ogaya (Executive Editor, 2022-2023) reflects on how Amaranth made it through the pandemic with the support of the President.
“Amaranth has succedingly thrived post-pandemic because of a strong and upheld administration that supports a free press. Never did I feel suppressed in writing and posting critical and investigative stories and articles because we were given the freedom to do what we wanted while following journalistic guidelines. Never did I feel responsible to only share positive stories of the institution not because we were asked (which mostly happens to other pubs) but because we ought it to our service to all Viscan to inform them and not please the admin.” Ogaya said.
Empowering a Democratic University, that’s E.D.U
Under his leadership, campus journalism at VSU flourished even at times when Amaranth’s articles were meant to critique the administration or the university in general. Dr. Tulin fostered an environment where student journalists could fearlessly investigate, question, and report, empowering them to become vigilant storytellers. He understood the pivotal role the campus press plays in shaping minds and civic responsibility. It never mounted to a point where our freedom to write and report was silenced. Whether it inflicts the harsh realities in the university or issues that need to be amplified in order to encourage solutions, Pres Tulin never seeks to censor Amaranth from its duties as the official student media organization of VSU.
He’s the kind of president who’s like a father who looks after his children. Someone who is proud to share our posts and articles on his own page and comment on it saying “Thank you, Amaranth”. It's rare to be in the presence of such a humble leader who values the students' plight for journalism autonomy.
He is the kind of president who never pressured nor held campus journalists at the neck for accreditation or approval. Instead, he empowered them and encouraged them to become conscientious watchdogs, the very reason why Amaranth stands strong to this day.
Thank you, Dr. Tulin, for standing with Amaranth
As we bid farewell to Dr. Tulin on his last day on the job, we celebrate a president whose commitment to journalistic freedom has sown the seeds of a more informed and empowered society. All of us at Amaranth, both the former and current line of staff, would like to express our gratitude to him.
Thank you, President Tulin, for your indelible mark on the pages of the stories we lived to tell, reminding us all of the enduring power of a free and fearless press.
The next VSU president has very big shoes to fill and we hope that whoever helms the big position would also embody the same morals and support that Dr. Tulin had for campus press freedom, one that champions the right of the students to inform and to be informed.