he 322nd Dongguk Post already reported on the incorporation of Dongguk University (DU) Cooperative. (http://dgucoop.dongguk.ac.kr) After that report, some problems blocking the incorporation were highlighted when the committee for promoting incorporation was dispersed last November 27. This Campus Issue examines the problems and suggests what we should do for incorporation of the DU Cooperative.............................Ed.
In the 27th trustees meeting last November 16, student trustees raised several questions about the executive office of the DU cooperative making a budget without the consent of the board of trustees of the DU cooperative. Though it has no right to decide any policy, the executive office did so anyway. As the budget of the DU cooperative is made by small contributions of DU members including students, it should be kept open to the public. Student trustees claimed that Kim Jin-chul, the chairperson of the board of trustees, and Ahn Jung-ok, the director of the executive office, should be reprimanded for their mistake.
On November 20, the chairperson of the board of trustees announced his voluntary resignation without any reflection on his wrong doing. However, he continued to make decisions for a few days after that. It was an irresponsible act for a person in charge of the problem and he had to pass his office to another person to maintain the board of trustees. Two professors who were candidates to succeed Kim Jin-chul by the articles of association resigned their office as trustees.
The director of the executive office also announced his voluntary resignation. His act was seen as accepting responsibility for the problem. However, he did not take any measures to reorganize the committee for promoting incorporation for about two months.
Trustees tried to normalize the board of trustees. They asked Prof. Kim Jin-chul to hold emergency meeting at which they could decide their course of action. But he didn't accept in the proposal and exacerbated the problem by criticizing other directors.
On February 13, six trustees including a representative and a staff member of the School Authorities (SA), a professor, a graduate student and two undergraduates discussed the ways of normalizing the DU cooperative. All of them approved of incorporating the DU cooperative and decided to create the Committee for Preparing Incorporation, which would take the place of the Board of Trustees. It consists of thirteen members including four undergraduates, two graduate students, two staff members and two representatives of the SA but excludes staff members of DU cooperative.
On February 5, at the first meeting of the Committee for Preparing Incorporation, those attending confirmed position of the SA and the Faculty Council about two Kims?resignations. And they appointed Hong Chi-yu, vice-president of DU, the chairperson of the committee.
On February 12, the committee held a conference presided over by Shim Ik-sub, the chief of the Faculty Council. First, they accepted the two Kims?resignation. Second, they agreed that the chairperson of the committee has the same right as the chairperson of the board of trustees and the committee has the same function as the board of trustees.
However, it should have taken a short time to pass those two important items, but they had a heated discussion about how to reflect opinions of staff members of the DU cooperative.
In the end, they decided not to include staff members of the cooperative on the committee as planned but to make a system in which their opinions can be reflected.
Last year, the committee for promoting incorporation held conferences ten times but it could not obtain good results, because each trustee adhered to his/her own position. At that time, the issue was how to share seats on the board of representatives and Board of Trustees. And the conflict over numerical superiority was interfering with the practical preparation for incorporation.
Choi Hyung-joo, a member of the Student Welfare Committee (SWC) said, "as a result of the conference in February, practical hindrance of incorporation disappeared. It is the time for us to discuss a blueprint after incorporation. And she added, all Donggukians can use all intramural shops. Although members of the DU cooperative should get different service than non-members of it, it is not determined yet. However, it is clear that non-members of the DU cooperative can not take part in the events which the DU cooperative will hold.
Everyone at DU was also a member of DU cooperative till now. Students joined the DU cooperative automatically when they paid their tuition fees (the money is returned when they graduate from DU). However, students who now want to join the cooperative freely must send in an application and the money after a few months. Then, advertising for the DU cooperative will be necessary to attract more participants. Currently, no new students have paid any money.
There are too many trustees in the committee for preparing incorporation. In addition, some trustees are not good at handling practical business details. It is better to form a subcommittee of four trustees including a student, a graduate student, a professor and a SA representative for rapid progress. Also, it is necessary to make new articles for the DU cooperative. Of course, the committee should deliberate the matter with the subcommittee for approval. Some days ago, the vice-president resigned his seat as the chairperson of the committee due to personnel transfers in DU. The committee members will take steps to deal with the situation soon. I think that it will take more than two months from now until the DU cooperative is an independent corporation,"said Kim Tae-kwang, a student trustee and the chief of the SWC.
The DU cooperative held its third anniversary last November 27th. But most students don't know that they are members of the DU cooperative. Besides, many students don't even know what the DU cooperative is.
Students should not neglect their responsibility to motion, criticize and participate and practice to prevent all members of the DU cooperative from being sacrificed by some people who manage it on their own authority. And a place is needed for discussion, where general members of the DU cooperative can be involved in the management of the DU cooperative easily.
It will not be long until the DU cooperative becomes an independent corporation. Now, representatives of the DU cooperative are formulating several plans that will be carried out after the DU cooperative is incorporated. However, the schedule for the plan has not been decided as yet. The DU cooperative is directly related to our school's welfare. The most important things of the DU cooperative are transparent financial management and democratic process for final decision making. Also, all the procedures related to the DU cooperative have to be opened.
We should keep watching closely the activities of the DU Cooperative so that the same problems and mistakes are not repeated. Thus, all members of the DU community have to make every possible effort to help DU cooperative develop through policy-making or introducing ways to make things better.
Kim Dong-ho firstname.lastname@example.org
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