The College of Law of Dongguk University opened a booth which sold only bar snacks instead of alcoholic beverages.
/Photograph by Yu Na-kyung
Recently, festival without bars has become a big issue on university campuses. Most universities could not run bars during their festival period, since the Ministry of Education declared that selling alcoholic drinks is no longer permitted. Several universities had to change their festival plans and ran a variety of booths without bars. Starting from this situation, will festival without bars become a new university culture?
The Ministry’s regulation brought about festival without bars
On May 1st, following National Tax Service’s request, the Ministry of Education sent an official document to every university. The document stated that unlicensed selling of alcoholic beverages is not allowed. Prior to this announcement, although operating festival bars without a license was against The Liquor Tax Law, it has been conventionally accepted. This is because festival bars are usually run for a limited period and do not have a large profit margin.
However, there is a difficulty in obtaining a license. To be specific, a license for running a business is issued only to “building.” Since university festival bars are usually opened outside of the building, it is hard for students to be licentiate. Most universities had to give up managing bars. As a result, festival without bars went ahead in many universities.
In this regard, a member of National Tax Service said, “‘Custom’ cannot be a reasonable law. The Liquor Tax Law applies to all sellers and manufacturers of liquor. Some negative opinions about why universities have been exceptional in applying the law increased. We had to inform universities that they need to observe the law."
Each university ran festival without bars in diverse way
Even though bars could not be operated in the same way as before, there were other ways to enjoy liquor. The General Student Council (GSC) of Dongguk University took action to make Donggukians buy liquor easily at the store. They asked for a total number of 20 convenience stores and super markets near the school to arrange enough stock of alcoholic beverages. Kim Jung-do, the Chairperson of the GSC of Dongguk University, said, “First, we had planned several legal methods to manage bars. We tried to establish a temporary place of business. In addition, we asked for Dongguk University Cooperative to get the license and sell alcoholic beverages during the festival season. However, as all of the plans were foundered, we decided to request for the stores near the school to prepare the stock."
Meanwhile, the GSC of Kyung Hee University Global Campus opened “Hyoja Jumak,” which sold only “bar snacks” such as Tofu with Kimchi and Jeon instead of liquor. Customers can buy and eat those while bringing their own drinks. In this regard, Yu Bo-hyun (Freshman, Astronomy & Space Science) of Kyung Hee University Global Campus said, “I think managing this kind of booth is a good idea. The only thing I had to do was to buy liquor at other store since the booth to drink and eat bar snacks was arranged in school. However, it was a little inconvenient to line up at the crowded store because there were so many people who wanted to buy their drinks. Except the inconvenience, everything was fine."
In another case, there were some universities which provided the place to enjoy drinks in school without having bars. As an example, the Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) of Inha University prepared “Inha-Sungchan,” which is a place all Inha University students can gather at the ground and have a drink together regardless of majors. Seo Duk-jun, the Chairperson of the EPC of Inha University said, “After we decided not to manage bars in this festival season, we thought that there will be no places to drink. Therefore, we arranged ‘Inha-Sungchan.’ Many students said it was interesting to have drinks together unlike the previous festival.”
Students reacted differently to festival without bars
What did students think about festival without bars? Some students were favorable to them since they think meaning of festival should not be limited to drinking. Jung Eun-ji (Freshman, Vocal Music) of Seoul National University said, “Before we entered university, we enjoyed festival without having any alcoholic beverages. I think drinking cannot be the whole thing of the festival. People who want to drink can go to bars outside the school.”
Kim Da-hye (Senior, Interior Design) of Duksung Women’s University, who also welcomed festival without bars, mentioned, “While I participated in managing festival bars for three years, I could not find the purpose why we had to operate them. I have seen many customers who demanded unreasonable things. I remember that I had to deal with some of the customers who demanded to arrange a meeting with the opposite gender."
On the other hand, other students showed negative opinions to festival without bars. Kim Hye-rin (Junior, Department of English Language and Literature) of Sungshin Women’s University said, “As festival bars disappeared, I think the festival lost its vitality. I visited a university festival this time. I could see the number of students who participated in the festival decreased evidently.”
In addition, they contended that festival without bars was result of the Ministry’s unilateral notice, not the students’ voluntary decision. Kim Hye-rin (Sophomore, Sociology) of Sungkyunkwan University said, “The abolition of bars has to be decided by democratic procedure in which students’ opinions are reflected. Although the previous way of selling was illegal, it is improper for the one-side notice of the Ministry to change the custom. I oppose to the festival without bars in which there was no democratic procedure."
Students are the most important subject of making university culture
As there are different opinions regarding festival without bars, it is too early to say whether festival without bars will become a new university culture or not. However, one certain thing is that students are the most important subject when making university culture. The Chairperson Kim said, “Festival has no meaning if students do not participate in it. We need to focus on planning a festival which exists for students. We will keep doing our best to make safe and joyful festival.”
Yu Na-kyung firstname.lastname@example.org
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