“Drop System,” “Credit Transfer System,” the protest of requiring democratic presidential election and “NuulGeotHaengJin”—all of these momentous occasions occurred during the 2018 spring semester by the current Korea University Student Union (KUSU), ABLE. KUSU has shown a continuous effort to stress the problems in Korea University (KU). While the semester was eventful, these policies should not end as being mere incidents, but should rather be regarded as a part of larger objectives.
Frequently conducted evaluation surveys of newly-established course, such as Libertas, Justitia, and Veritas, campaigns about current issues asking for signatures, and the campus wall posters insisting human rights could be known as the actions from ABLE. Among these numerous acts, three of them have stood out from each division, resulting in a considerable awareness from the KU students and all interested parties: KUESTION, imposed by the Division of Education Policy, “NuulGeotHaengJin” by the Division of Housing and seeking countermeasures from human rights violation by the Division of Human Rights are the most prominent issues that deserve the attention of the KU students.
Evident Success from the Change in the Educational Policy
KUESTION, the act of seeking educational rights, was spanned for a relatively long term of one year. Corresponding to three different themes to each month from March to May, it gradually increased the importance of the educational crisis and led to a stronger action during the following months of June and July. The “Drop System” in March, “Democratic Presidential Election” in April and “Credit Transfer System” in May were all part of a larger goal of intensifying educational rights. Seemingly irrelevant themes from each month are all connected with the scheme named KUESTION.
“Educational rights are frequently infringed upon, and such movements make it easier to hear students’ voices requiring revision. As a member of ABLE, we think it is our duty to accept their opinions and to show some effort to develop it,” stressed the Head of the Division of Education Policy, Lee Gyu Sang (’16, Health and Environmental Science). It explains the relevance from three distinct education-related policies—that, they are for an advanced educational system which is favorable toward students.
Proven by roughly 4000 signatures of the participants of the “Drop System,” more and more students are acknowledging the flaw of the current educational system in KU. Lee adds that instilling awareness of the problem and arousing the attention among students is the first step to the change. Participants are the indicators of urgency which would lead to quicker action. “Thanks to the KUSU, I could understand the importance of the drop system,” mentioned Kwon Hak (’18, Health and Environmental Science).
Notably, the most evident and successful outcome from this semester is the “change of course registration,” which would be implemented throughout this summer vacation. Improved after three discussions with Office of Academic Affairs of KU, this revision has amplified the advantages of the current system and removed defects. Thanks to the course registration change, KU students no longer need to compete with their seniors or each other for better quality lectures. Although the revised course registration process would make it possible to understand students’ needs more elaborately than before, there still rests a problem about the absolute deficiency in the number of students from each course. KUSU is still striving to resolve this problem by constantly discussing with school faculties.
The Holler for Dorms
▲ Protest March of NuulGeotHaeng-jin. Provided by ABLE
NuulGeotHaengJin demands KU to build more dormitories to accommodate more students. Such action taken by them has made a significant impression on both local and campus press. Unfortunately, KU has been widely known for its dormitory acceptance rates—10.5 percent—the figure which is one of the lowest among other universities of Seoul. In an attempt to ameliorate such deep-rooted problems, KUSU organized a march on April 12 from KU to the Seongbuk-gu Office. In the protest, 200 students participated to stress the current deficiency that KU students are going through.
However, one could point out that no further action from relevant authorities and no continuous exertion from the supporters were shown. To make matters worse, this protest was confronted with massive opposition from the local, which previously held a grudge about the noise from the dormitory. “The cooperation of the locals is the key and I think KU should be bold to systematically change this relationship,” said Kwon, also suggesting a measure of changing the students’ address to Anam and later casting a vote to the amicable parties.
Infringement of Human Rights, Handled in the Right Hand
While bringing drastic changes in educational policies, KUSU was quick to address issues related to human rights infringement. Sexual harassment by Professor K went viral from Sungshin Women University (SWU) Bamboo Forest on Facebook. This issue was even written on the campus wall poster, covered with messages on sticky notes about condemnation and the need of the “Me Too” movement from numerous students triggered by KUSU. Another work of KUSU was shown by providing an intuitive image about the magnitude of this incident.
Later, on May 30, KUSU participated in a press conference called “Eradication of Power-Related Sexual Violence at University” and stressed the consciousness about sexual violence. Furthermore, on July 2, another campus wall poster was attached about the countermeasure about the sexual violence, to have the professor resign and to lawfully deal with the crime committed. Those enthusiastic and prompt movements show that KUSU is trying to make the problem notable and induce change.
“Not complying with the discomfort of the school; this is the motto of ABLE,” stressed Lee, adding that KUSU always actively seeks for the necessity of change and makes the utmost outcome as possible. Even though it is not an easy work to both satisfy the needs of the KU students and KU authorities, KUSU reckons that the consciousness of the issue is the first step of all changes. All the policies and movements directed by KUSU uphold the spirit of endless endeavor and the members of KUSU always thrive to get ahead of problems in KU like a pioneer. This spring semester was no exception.