On Feb. 28, students in Manhae Hall read a notice posted by the School Authority (SA).
Because the 4th floor of Manhae Hall is now reserved for students who are preparing examination to appoint the justice from coming March, please use the reading rooms downstairs.?
This notice surprised and angered many students.
Why did the SA suddenly decide to change the purpose of the facilities without any discussion??
Moreover, this is not the first time the SA acted unilaterally. It has happened many times before and student representatives have protested strongly. However, the SA has not changed. Even recently, we have disagreements caused by a lack of communication.
Increasing the Tuition Fee Again
"The tuition fee was increased again!"
"Right, the school increased it by 8.5 percent without any discussion. It is a heavy burden indeed."
For the past several years, Dongguk University (DU) has been raising the tuition fee including the 2006 tuition fee. According to a Round Table negotiation between the SA and the General Student Council (GSC) on Feb. 8, the freshman entrance fee was raised 12.73% for this semester. Students of College of Liberal Art and Social Science paid 2,970,000 won ($3,039.92) and the students of College of Engineering paid 3,927,000 won ($4,019.45).
"We think it is a fairly reasonable increase given the factors influencing it and compared with past years," said an official of the SA at the Round Table. The SA insisted that they couldn't help increasing the tuition fee because of Centennial Anniversary events and because of the DU Master Plan that includes building the 100th Anniversary Hall, which will contain a dormitory and facilities for the College of Engineering, employment of new instructors and innovations.
The GSC objects, however, to the SA using student money to fund this plan. "The 100th Anniversary events should be financed by the SA. It's unreasonable to use students?money; they are just rationalizing their actions," said Jang Dong-hyeok, a policy manager of the GSC.
Trouble over the tuition fee is not only at DU. Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) settled this matter by opening to the public their financial data, which led to a compromise between SKKU and its students. Kangwon National University also determined its tuition fee after negotiations between the school and students.
"Even though it seems that DU's increase is comparably lower, the pledge of the GSC to freeze the fee of 2006 was kept. Lack of communication between the SA, the GSC and students is at the heart of the matter," said Kwon Kyoung-shin, a sophomore in the Dept. of English Lang. & Lit.
"When and How Was the School Affairs Changed"
Lack of communication isn't the only cause of problems with the fee. The SA informed school affairs suddenly and rigidly. And since those affairs are related to graduation, it is considerably important. The GSC and students acquiesced to the SA's decision.
"I was aware of the affairs?changes only 3 days before registration for this semester's classes. I suffered confusing at first. There were plenty of newly-open courses and I was unfamiliar with new school affairs' terms about new courses," Kwon pointed out. The GSC Policy manager, Mr. Jang, also indicates that the SA rarely gave information to students after having made unilateral decisions.
At first, the SA was to allow 18 credits per semester. But the GSC demanded at the Round Table to put this off until 2007.
"Though we obtained immediate results, the SA neglects student representatives. They think of the GSC as just a connection between school and students," Jang added.
Shin Ha-gyun, an official in Academic Planning Division, said in an interview with The Dongguk Post, "Such actions are aimed more at high educational quality than quantity. It would be helpful for Donggukians to improve their academic practicalities and flexibilities. So I'd like to say that you don't look these matters at only negative side."
'Lack of communication' is at the center of the problem between students and school. Hence, the SA should try to communicate with students. Trust can be achieved through transparent administrative procedures.
Together with the SA's efforts, Donggukians ought to be interested in school affairs. Students should exert their rights by expressing their opinions and persuading the SA. Unless this happens, DU cannot expect to advance over the next 100 years.
Lee Ji-eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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