On May 25th, there was a presentation held by the administration of DU regarding the agenda of moving the College of Life Science and Biotechnology (Biotech college) to the Ilsan campus. The presentation had approximately 200 participants including the vice-president for management as well as students and professors of the Biotech College and alumni. DU was selected as one of the universities to establish the College of Pharmacy earlier this year.
As a result, DU pushed ahead with the plan of fostering a 'medical life science campus'. The plan for the Ilsan campus is to unify such medical-related colleges as the College of Pharmacy, the Biotech College, Medical College and the Oriental Medical College. Although the plan seems to be beneficial, there are some problems in proceeding with the agenda directly in that there are some refutations from students and professors of the Biotech College. The school's administration and the Biotech College have different standpoints concerning the agenda.
In fact, the relocation of Biotech Science is not an abrupt project. According to the general manager of strategic planning, the original plan was first suggested in the 1990’s. At that time the main plan was to remove the whole College of Science and Engineering to the Ilsan campus. Unfortunately however, in 1997 there was a financial crisis in Korea and as a result the school could not keep the project going.
In 2005 after the financial crisis, DU restarted the project 10 years after its initial proposition. In 2007 the school invited specialists and gradually made progress in the project. The school planned to postpone the moving of the Biotech College until 2013. However, in 2009 the Ministry of Education as well as the College of Science and Technology proposed to select universities to establish a new College of Pharmacy. Though DU has many available places for school buildings, the government demands real school buildings be used rather than planned sites.
To meet the requirements of the government the school needed to finish constructing school buildings earlier on Ilsan campus. Therefore the due date changed from 2013 to 2011.
Students, professors and alumni are opposed to this policy for several reasons. The first reason is that there is nothing on the Ilsan campus right now. Although the school says that the construction could be completed by next year, the relocation of the Biotech College is possible on condition that it is built together with the College of Pharmacy. One student argued that the main reason students are opposed to the policy is the school's unprepared attitude.
On the other hand, a school representative asserts that the project was not an abrupt decision. He also emphasized the limited space in Seoul. He said "because of DU's special location just below Namsan Tower, it is strongly regulated by the government to construct campus buildings lower than the height of Namsan Tower. It is for providing tourists in Seoul with a view of Namsan Tower, a symbol of Seoul." He also stated that in 2008 there was a 'Biotechnology Report' written by professors of the Biotech College. They needed to hand in a report quickly so that the college could receive financial support from the school.
After the school received the report, the school subsidized the college according to the report. During that time the school did not officially tell the professors about the relocation, even though it was somewhat widely known that the relocation would occur in 2013. But there was nothing in the report about the matter.
As a result, the school supposed it was a tacit agreement on the relocation. The purpose of the school is to foster a medical cluster on the Ilsan campus. Making a hospital, a university, and a research agency all in the same area would create a strong synergy effect. However, he confessed that there was no previous notice to the students of the Biotech College.
As an answer to those complaints, the school is trying to do its best to satisfy the related students and professors. The general manager of strategic planning said the school is trying to take care of as many complaints as possible.
He said the meeting between the school and students is still under way to find mutual agreements. He said that there is no disadvantage for students who entered the school before 2011. It means that students entering the school after 2011 could be studying at the Ilsan campus. The general manager of strategic planning says students will demand various things like a library as well as a dual major option, and cultural studies. He said the school can come up with practical alternatives to those points.
I asked the opinions of several students from other colleges unrelated to the plan. What I could hear from them in common was the importance of communication. This controversial problem shows us that communication between the school and students is a crucial thing when figuring out problems within the school.
Park Sung-yeun email@example.com
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