A recent Donggukians' hot potato is the raising of the tuition fee. Because School Authorities (SA) hiked the tuition fee by ten percent this year without any negotiation with the General Student Council (GSC).
There are some weak points in GSC these days. They don't have any formal leader to negotiate SA policies owing to the controversy over the GSC election last year.
We'll look into the issues of the tuition fee debate and what happens to GSC now.
We will also talk about the importance of GSC and the promotion of the coming election.
The past raises in the tuition fee at Dongguk University (DU) were 11% (2000), 5% (2001), 5% (2002).
Even though the 5% raise of 2002 was not seriously high, GSC carried out the unlawful occupation of president's space.
This year, SA wants a 10% raise. It is natural that SA and GSC will face off against the tuition fee's raising. Ten percent raise is controversial at DU.
Some students insist that they can not enroll this semester because they can't afford to pay this unreasonable increase.
One of the DU undergraduates said on DU Opinion Plaza, "I want to compare SA to a corporation. It seems that SA behaves like a corporation selling expensive goods to students. Ten percent, 5%, 5%, 10%......When will it stop?"
The other DU undergraduate said in a satirical tone, "I would rather buy a laptop instead of paying tuition fee. Thus, I'll register for only cyber lectures and study hard through my laptop."
Most of the undergraduates and graduates agree about how expensive the tuition fee is.
In this atmosphere of criticism, an interview related with the tuition fee issue was held on January 29.
The Post reporters joined the interview but there were fewer results than we expected. The following table is the essential results of the interview.
△ Questions of suspicions and reasons why SA raise the tuition fee to ten percent (by General Student Council Representatives)
- What conditions led to a 10% raise?
- According to the essential plan of the last year, there remains fifteen billion won in DU's account as an installment. Is it true?
△ Position and Explanations of School Authorities
(There were few useful answers to representatives of GSC.)
- SA representatives, especially related officials, gave vague answers to GSC:
" It is a period of transition, so it's hard to speak about exact money or policies to you. "
" I couldn't remember."
" It has entirely slipped from my mind."
In Part 1, we dealt with tuition fee issue at DU. In Part 2 and Part 3, we'll explore GSC's situation at DU.
-Who are members of General Student Council (GSC)
In 2002, there was Ju Jin-wan as the central figure of GSC. Ju Jin-wan, chairperson of the 34th GSC, ended his tenure as of last December.
And the General Election for the 35th General Student Council was held from November 12 to 14. The results of the election, however, were unsuccessful. The rate of voters was not over 50%. So the election ended in failure and the seat for the 35th chairperson of GSC is unoccupied. So GSC organized an executive committee for emergency countermeasures led by Lim Su-ook. The executive committee has 4 members; Oh Sun-yim, Lee Sang-hyun, Lyu Youn-suk and An Kyung-sook.
But this group has a weak side. It lacks the public confidence and execution because it is organized temporarily.
-What did GSC do in 2002?
During the last year GSC performed many activities. They held a festival from May 15 to 17. During the festival, GSC showed a movie, had lectures about health and beauty, and played folk music and sold food. Most students were interested in a Korean traditional play held in front of the Buddha statue. They also protested against the tuition fee hike and the opening of the Buddhist General Hospital.
On June 13 two Korean middle school students lost their lives by the U.S. army.. After the accident, the U.S. armed forces in South Korea insisted that nobody was responsible for it. So GSC had a campaign to obtain signatures to reveal the real facts of that accident.
During the World Cup season, World Cup games was shown in ManHae Court. GSC prepared a big screen and sold beer at a low price. Many students participated in ManHae Court. and cheered on the Korea team.
"I would never forget that Donggukians were all together and had happy times in June." one senior wrote this letter on the bulletin of DU's homepage site.
-How was about the General Election for the 35th GSC?
From Nov. 12 to 14 students had an election for chairperson of GSC. You Young-bin and Lee Sang-hyun were the only candidates for the chairperson and the vice-chairperson. They took the stump under the slogan of a broad smile. But the result did not give a broad smile to them. Due to lack of 1.13 % turnout of voters the election was declared invalid.
The reason for this result is that students are unconcerned about GSC. Just twenties students attended their first electioneering. And another reason was the narrow choice of candidates.
GSC will hold a reelection for the chairperson of the 35th GSC in March.
The Dongguk Post had a bulletin board in the Library and Dongguk Hall from Feb. to 14. in order to get students opinion about GSC.
Follow statements are students' opinion.
▷Collect students' opinion when GSC organizes a project
▷GSC should be performing creative projects instead of common ones.
▷All financial affairs should be opened to Donggukians
▷GSC has to strive to lead students to participate in GSC's activities
▷Fee of student associations should be spent on just things
▷Cut the tuition fee down.
▷I want the president of GSC to discuss the development of DU
-To the students
"New plan of 2003 was not yet scheduled, because GSC was not organized. However, we will make an effort to talk with students through on and offline. And some of the students refuse and worry about a student movement. In order to recover a positive attitude of both GSC and students, they should try to do better understanding each other." said Oh Sun-yim.
GSC has a responsibility to protect the rights of students against the School Authorities, and to let students know what their rights are. And the most important role of GSC is to improve the students welfare through cooperating with SA. However, GSC is losing their power and influence gradually. That's because students are not interested in GSC and it is not organized. Students have to be concerned about GSC more to improve the power of GSC. Also, all of the students have to perform their voting rights through the General Election for the 35th GSC.
It is obvious that SA increased the tuition fee by ten percent because of a lack of GSC's leadership to protest against them.
Even some students who blame GSC's activities don't agree with the tuition fee raise. But most of them didn't participate in GSC election last year. It is a contradiction. They have to perceive this immediately.
GSC has scheduled an election for the 35th president of GSC at the end of March. GSC's legal struggle is required to improve democratic discussions at DU.
If the election fails again, DU students don't have any formal organization to protest against the school policies.
Let's participate this time!
Shin Dong-kyu, Park Jee-young firstname.lastname@example.org
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