|▲ Students are prevented from entering the Main Hall which is closed with barricade that they are standing in front of the building with pickets.|
/Photograph by Lee Min-jeong
New members of the board of directors of Dongguk University were appointed at the 299th board of directors’ meeting, which was held on February 3rd. The 299th board of directors’ meeting was opened at Lotus Hall located in Main Hall at 3:00 P.M. During the meeting, Ven Ji-young, Ven Bub-san, Ven Se-young, and Ven Jeong-nyeom Sunims were elected as the new board of directors.
Prior to this meeting, the GSC filed a request document to the school for their participation in the board meeting, asserting that students should also be involved in every step of school administration. However, their request was denied by the school saying, “That is difficult to accept” without any specific reason.
The meeting proceeded ordinarily at the Main Hall, even though students and school staff were engaged in a physical dispute in front of the hall, with barricades blocking students from coming into the building. The reason for blocking the hall with barricades was because the majority of the faculty staff left for their break.
|▲ Students and faculty staffs are conflicting to get the ladder that were brought by the students in front of the Main Hall on the day of the board of directors’ meeting on February 2nd.|
/Photograph by Lee Min-jeong
A fight regarding the resignation of Ven Bogwang Sunim and nomination of board of directors between the students and school does not seem to be resolved in a short time.
A day before the board of directors’ meeting, on February 2nd at around 8:00 P.M., some students from the General Student Council stayed in the Main hall to participate in the board of directors’ meeting. In the act, school faculty dragged them out of the building, causing a physical conflict between the students and the faculty staff.
On the day after, on February 3rd, “Dongguk Promotion Committee for the Future” held a press conference to go against the board of directors’ meeting in front of the Main Hall at 1:00 P.M.
During the conference, “Dongguk Promotion Committee for the Future” addressed three main concerns: procedural reformation of the board of directors’ meeting, a demand for the board of directors’ mass resignation, and the resignation of Han Tae-sik.
Choi Jang-hoon, the former chairperson of the Student Council of Postgraduates, said, “The nomination of eight sunim candidates means that the fight of the students, which has lasted over a year, was ignored. It shows that the Jogye Order intervened in the school matters once again and arbitrarily designated board of directors.
Some of nominated candidates for directors seemed controversial among students. Ven Ji-young Sunim, who was one of the candidates of board of directors, was a participant of the “Koreana Hotel meeting,” which is the known trigger of the ongoing conflicts. Also Ven Se-young Sunim, the head of department for the defense of a religion, is suspected of intentionally mishandling the investigation of the issue related to Ven Seong-wol Sunim’s personal life that is unacceptable as a Buddhist monk.
An Dre, the chairperson of the GSC, also said in the conference, “We thought that the resignation of directors was a significant action that proved the religious order will no longer have deep influence on our school. However, the cycle is now being repeated by nominating eight candidates for the board again from the religious order. If the new directors of the board are nominated from these eight candidates, what we have done through the last whole year will be ignored.”
Cho Young-jun (Sophomore, Korean Education) said, “I expected that the fundamental problems would soon be resolved after Ven Ilymun Sunim resigned. However, Han Tae-sik (Ven Bogwang Sunim) still remains, and students are not able to take part in the decision making of school affairs. I hope that students’ rights to participate in school matters are guaranteed.”
Lee MinJeong, Khang Seok-jun firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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