▲ The first rally is being held at KU. Provided by Yonhap News
Since August, a previous senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, Cho Kuk, has been hugely caught up in controversy for illicitly enrolling in school. Suspicion has fallen on his daughter, Cho Min, about corrupt admission at Korea University (KU). As she entered the Department of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering as a high school student who studied liberal arts not natural sciences, people doubted about her qualification to compete with other students majoring in natural sciences. Moreover, after release of the fact that she was the lead author of the medical science thesis when she was just a high school student, the suspicion toward her increased and the public urged that the truth surrounding her admission to KU needs to be ascertained.
Many campus wall posters are posted on the West Gate, and two huge rallies were held in the Central Plaza of the Liberal Arts and Humanities Campus. The first rally was spurred on August 23 by the community site called Koreapas, which most KU students and alumni use. Participants sang cheering songs of KU holding candlelight vigils on their hands. However, although the executive branch of this first rally delivered their requirements to Office of General Affairs, the office refused their demand saying that the rally was not led by the official representative of the KU students. Therefore, on August 30, KU Student Union (KUSU) held a second protest concerning this scandal.
The second rally did not come to a positive ending though, but only with a sour response from KU students. They criticized the lack of communication between the KUSU and KU students. When compared to the first rally, communication was significantly absent in the process of preparing for the second one. For the first rally, many students gave positive feedback to the KU Rally Executive Committee (KUREC) who reached out to the students when preparing the rally, including the decision-making process for chants and songs. However, such communication was not effectively facilitated for the second rally, thereby resulting in numerous complaints from the students for the delay and absence of prior notice.
In addition, critical views pointing out the insufficient preparation were followed after the second rally. KUSU announced the application of participants for the free speech segment at 2:00 A.M. on the day of the rally. KU students stated that KUSU should have uploaded the post of the announcement sooner for a smooth progress of the rally. Furthermore, signs of poor preparation were constantly shown during the rally as well. Although KU students were planned to sing the school song in unison at the end of the rally, it was cancelled due to a lack of preparation. As the rally is a public action representing the opinions of KU students, KU students pointed out that a more systematic preparation should have been arranged.
All in all, the process of the rally was a rough ride for both KUSU and KU students. At status quo, different opinions regarding the allegation of academic corruption are rising among KU students. Campus wall posters written by students from various departments and grades are continuously being posted within the campus. When observing such opinions, there is an indispensable need for a rally to strongly deliver the voices of the students to the school. However, reflecting back on the second rally made by KUSU, a well-planned rally with more active communication between students will be needed in order to achieve a successful rally. As the academic scandal continues to be an important issue, measures to effectively convey the thoughts of KU students must be found within KU.