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Defending Our Right to Know the TruthStudents' Lost Responsibility

  There has been a lot of noise at Dongguk University (DU), because of the Shin Jeong-ah affair, with the Faculty Council insisting that the Board of Directors resign en masse.  But the board of directors says, "DU needs us," and a few weeks ago, they elected new members.  This conflict will continue.
  However, there is louder noise among students: "Jeong Pyung-joo must resign from the Central Election Management Committee!" "Apologize to all Donggukians!" "Normalize the election!"  Shouting these slogans, about 100 students did SamboIlbae, three walks and one bow, while walking around the campus. 
  Electing new members for the Board of Directors members and the 40th General Student Council Election are disputed.  The Post will analyze these two noisy issues.............................................................................ed.

Part 1. Conflict Between Faculty Council and Board of Directors

  Most Donggukians know the fact that both the Faculty Council, and the Board of Directors have many conflicts.  These conflicts got bigger because of the Shin Jeong-ah affair.  Last month, the Faculty Council requested that the Board of Directors assume responsibility for the Shin affair because there is still suspicion about the affair.  The Board of Directors replied that the affair was solved in court.
  The Dongguk Post met with prof. Jeong Jae-hyung, a chairman of the Faculty Council and the formal ad hoc committee of the Faculty Council., to discuss the conflict.

  The Post (P): What is at the center of the conflict?
  Mr. Jeong (M): The Faculty Council is shocked by the Board of Directors' attitude.  They shirked their responsibility and deny their faults.  We want them to take ethical responsibility.  But the Board of Directors wants to forget about the Shin's affair and say that it's legally finished.

  P. Some directors may feel that your requests are unfair.
  J. Some directors are avoiding their responsibilities by saying that they are not directly at fault with the Shin affair.  But we want to emphasize that if some directors knew of the faults of others, then they also should assume responsibility.  Our aim is not to point fingers at anyone, but to have someone to take responsibility.  We want them to apologize to all Donggukians and then retire en masse.

  P. The directors say that the professors wanted to hold real power in the school.
  J. We are requesting their resignation because it is our proper right to hold them responsible.  Their argument is not convincing.

  P. Few students saw your banners and a big-character paper about the Board of Directors.
  J. We publicized our editorial several times, but the directors removed it from view each time.  They insist the editorial shamed our school.  We certainly didn't want to shame our school, but we did want students to know the facts of this issue.

  P. Have you ever thought about the consequences of the directors resigning en masse?
  J. (Thinking for a few seconds,) Well, the most important thing is to protect the Board of Directors status and credibility from those presently misusing power.  The present directors are part of the DU foundation, and this is why we don't trust them. Also, they spoke harsh words on TV.  These kinds of people want to be reappointed to the Board of Directors.  We cannot allow this to happen!

  P. Has the Faculty Council and the Board of Directors met to discuss this impasse?
  J. No, we have not.

  After the interview, Professor Jeong added,  "What I worry about most is the students.  Students know that they are the host of the school, but doesn't seem to have interests in school.  Some students think that self-purification of the school is the only solution to the Shin's affair.  And they will be watching how the school responds and will judge the school by school authority response."

Part 2. Democracy Is Dead

  At noon Nov. 19th, there were about 100 students in front of Student Hall.  They were holding signs saying "The chairperson of the Central Election Management Committee must resign." and "Democracy Is Dead."  And they gave their opinion about this election.
  This was impromptued.  Dongguk netizens from a DU community site named 'DC Inside-Donggukin Gallery' gathered after on-line discussions about the 40th election of the General Student Council (GSC).  A senior netizen named 'Hulhul' said, "We should not forget last-year's 39th election and the 39th GSC.  We have to protect our democracy in campus from affairs like this."  And he added, "Jeong Pyung-joo, the chairperson of the General Representative Council(GRC) and the Central Election Management Council(CEMC), has been publicly criticized.  Mr. Jeong must retire as chairperson.  He has failed us."
  After issuing a final statement, the students walked to the GRC office carrying some red placards.  These red cards were for the resignation of Mr. Jeong and were stuck on every wall in the office.  After this, they stood up and marched in three files doing 'Samboilbae' from Student Hall to Dongguk Hall. 

About the Facts
: What made the students  protest on Nov 19th?  And who is Jeong Pyung-joo, a key man of this affair?
  During the election campaign, students saw fliers everywhere on the campus one piece of paper criticizing the election pledges of Number 1 candidates and criticizing the 39th GSC election.  This paper was made by the team of Number 2 candidates and also contained their pledges.  But there was no CEMC permission stamp on the paper.  Later, Number 2 election agents tried to take back their fliers because of the CEMC's warning.  But they didn't take back all of the papers and had to make apology statements.  On November 16th, Number 2 got three warnings and were told that their candidates were disqualified.
  During this process, however, many students became suspicious.  According to the leader of Number 2 election agents, Yoon Sung-joon, he couldn't get in contact with Jeong Pyung-joo for seven hours.  He tried to hand in their apology statement to Mr. Jeong, but he failed and heard that the CEMC gave Number 2 another warning.  But Jeong's warning was given arbitrarily and without meeting with the General Representatives Council Assembly.  Jeong Pyung-joo excused this problem by saying, "I tried my best to gather members for a conference, but the members didn't come to the meeting on time.  So I decided to give a warning on my own."
  However, most students dismissed his excuse: "He sent a text message about having a conference on short notice just 10 minutes ago.  His short notice was unacceptable."
  Jeong Pyung-joo's attitude against the electioneering agents of Number 2 was reported by DUBS TV News on Nov. 16th, and most students became interested in the 40th GSC election and in Jeong Pyung-joo.  What's more, Dongguk netizens planned a meeting to look for campus democracy and they met in front of Student Hall at noon on Nov. 19th.

After the meeting to look for democracy
  The Number 1 candidates declared that they were withdrawing from the election at Paljeongdo.  Their reasons were Dongdaeshinmun and DUBS reports and the attitude of the Number 2 candidates.  But some students are negative about their statements because they seemed to be avoiding their responsibility and were abusive to the other sides. 
  The CEMC announced that this election is postponed indefinitely.  Every student seem to be interested in the next candidates and the next election policy.

Conclusion

  The last two issues are not different things have one thing in common).  Both of them have a problem with the way leaders are elected at the DU and they demand the resignation of the dishonest leaders.  But students had a few concerns in the first issue, and they had a big concern in the second issue related to a direct election.  Students are the owners of the school.  It is our responsibility to fully understand all the conflicts occurring on campus.  Students have a right to know, and with this right comes the responsibility to take action.
  When some students gathered to protect democracy on November 19th, many students who watched them were indifferent to their cause.

  It is high time that students understood the responsibility that comes with the right to know and act accordingly.  On Nov. 19th, the vice chairperson of the Student Council of Law Department spoke in a trembling voice: "This kind of irrational and senseless affair is caused by students' indifference.  I really hope that all of you not only will take interest in this affair but continue to show interest in our school's future.  We are the host of the school."

 

 

Cho Ryeo-jin  lemonyujin@dongguk.edu

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