The Election of the President at DU: Is it Truly Fair?
New Desk Editor
Many posters on the election of the next school president can be seen these days on the school bulletin board at DU. The Board of Trustees (BOT) and the Faculty Council (FC) have been at odds over the issue of the next election in the university. The BOT decided on the indirect election of the next president, but the FC adopted the direct election. Why can they not make a consensus on this issue? What is a possible solution to it?
It is the FC itself that makes the university's important decisions.
The FC stated that the faculty members should be the main body in the election of the president in the university. Direct election is certain to be the best system in a democratic society. The FC is opposed to indirect election for two reasons: first, it goes against the value of popular democracy, and second, it interferes with the spirit of autonomy in the university.
"The faculty and staff members both at Dongguk University should participate in the next election," said a member of the FC. Universities with direct election doubtlessly are better than those with indirect election because they can choose their own leader. It also ensures responsibility and voluntary participation of all the members in the university. The FC said that the Board of Trustees and the president should be in complementary cooperation.
The direct system has to include all Donggukians, said the Board of Trustees
However, an insider at the BOT said that the president at DU has always been elected by the indirect system. “What the FC decided to adopt for the next election is also a kind of indirect system. To be a truly democratic election, one has to include all Donggukians: students, faculty and staff members and others. If not, however, it cannot be an advanced approach.”
The BOT said that the former school presidents at DU have never been elected by the direct system. The 15th to present presidents have also been named by the BOT. (The FC, however, stated that they are the ones elected by the direct system.)
Other universities' presidential election system
According to the FC, fifteen national universities (except KAIST) use the direct system by professors, and twelve other ones allow staff members also to participate in the election. In the case of private university, 17 out of 43 schools elect their president directly.
However, many universities in the nation experience some trouble with the election of the university president, like a serious conflict between school members, and resignation of the president. For example, Yonsei University's BOT named Professor Kim Woo-sik as a president in spite of the FC's objection in 2004. But he resigned to work for the Blue House. After his resignation, the professors' council blocked the speeches of five presidential nominees because they were against the election regulations the university had.
The next president will be elected by the FC on Sep. 28. However, after the election the BOT and the FC are expected to still have a dispute over the way of election later on. It's time that they agreed on a fair system to elect the university president. No one wants the president who Donggukians do not accept. For it to be a truly fair election, all Donggukians have to acknowledge it. If not, truth and justice will not prevail at Dongguk University!
1. Box 1: The presidential election system of other universities in Korea
1) The direct election only by faculty members
Daegu National Univ. of Education, Mokpo National Univ., Wonkwang Univ., Jeonju National Univ. of Education, Hankuk Univ., of Foreign Studies, Hansung Univ.
2) The direct election by faculty and staff members
Kangwon National Uni., Kyungpook National Univ., Kongju National Univ., Pusan National Univ., Seoul National Univ., Sungsil Univ., Yonsei Univ., etc.
3) The indirect election led by the BOT
Kyounggi Univ., Kyungnam Univ., Kukmin Univ., Mokwon Univ., Cheongju Univ.
4) The indirect election with participation by faculty and staff members
Kunkuk Univ., Korea Univ., Duksung Womens Univ., Sogang Univ., Ehwa Womens Univ., Pohang Univ., of Science and Technology
Box 2: The history of the election of the past presidents at DU
1953 to 1968: Kwon Sang-Ro (1st) to Kim Dong-Ik (6th), who Buddhism authorities selected as a president.
1972 to 1978: Seo Don-Gak (7th) to Jeong Jae-Gak (9th), who external political factors outside university members appointed as a president.
1982 to 1990: Hwang Su-Young (10th) to Lee Ji-Kwan (11th) (resignation), who the Board of Trustees named among faculty members as a president.
1990 to today: Min Byoung-Chun (12th) to Hong Ki-Sam (15th), who the Board of Trustees appointed as a president after the FC elected two candidates.
Lee Seon-a firstname.lastname@example.org
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