Lee Kun was elected on April 8th as new president of the University of Seoul (UOS). This is a significant event because it brought an end to the eight-year term of former president Sang-Bum Lee. The election of president shows how the faculties think about the past eight years. And we can also predict what will happen to our university during the next four years by checking the newly elected president’s pledges and his career. Among students, there are different views of how this change will affect our university.
Different Points of View About the Election
There were controversies about the election on the university’s online community. Some thought it was unfair that students could not express their opinions in the election because the change of president will directly affect them. Others who had supported two defeated candidates were disappointed at the result. The students who supported Sang-Bum Lee insisted that he had distinguished himself from the other candidates: construction of new buildings, attracting the law school, and increasing the awareness of university. They also said that there was not any evidence to prove the other candidates’ abilities. For them, the election pledges by the other candidates looked invalid since there were no specific plans to achieve them. The supporters of Lee Kun argued that we, all members of the university, needed to reserve our judgments until he shows his capabilities as the president. The second controversy is a conflict between students from the Department of Business Administration and the Department of Urban Sociology, since they supported their own department’s professor (Sang-Bum Lee is a professor of the former and Lee Kun of the latter). If this conflict continues, it could cause more serious problems among the whole students community.
What Students Want and Need
At the start of the new president’s term, we collected information about what students want and need. Some things cannot be solved at all or will take a long time to fix: reconstruction of buildings and improvement of facilities. Other demands vary from replacing old chairs and tables to building more spaces for rest and studying. Some group of students complains about immaterial things such as the lower reputation and unclear identity of university. Below is a list of the students’ needs.
To buy more newly-released books for the library To employ professors who graduated from UOS Readjustment of the administrative system To increase the reputation of the university To halve the tuition fee To reveal the usage of one billion won (dues for the university supporting association) which caused disputes between the university faculty and the students
Therefore it is necessary for a president to listen to his students’ demands and try hard to satisfy them. If their requirements are impossible to achieve, then he needs to give them understandable reasons. Students’ queries mean they care about the university a lot, and want to take steps to help improvement of the university. But students also need to be aware not to make either impractical or unfeasible requests. Some queries were already responded to and other demands could be solved more effectively in the respective departments.
What the President Says: “It is time to take a new way”
President Lee Kun aims to improve the internal strength of the university by helping the students find out what they want to do. He means they should not follow the current stream but lead them onto a new one. As competition is getting tougher, he thinks, we need to foresee the future not only focusing on numeral indexes such as entrance exam scores of freshmen, ratio of students’ employment, and grading from outside. He insists qualitative growth is more necessary to get competitiveness in the future.
The biggest advantage of UOS is that it is a public university. It enables the university to be more free from market law than other universities. It can invest more resources on research and development and can offer more benefits to students to enhance their abilities. In this context, Lee Kun emphasizes the importance of harmony. “The Students need to believe that their professors care about the university and want to help them. Meanwhile, professors need to encourage their students to try new and different things. Since it will be unacceptable in future workplaces, it will be their last chance to challenge. Then UOS can be the true leader of the future.” An aftermath of elections is generally granted. No one would accept another candidate’s win with delight. However, since the president was legally elected, we should support him to do his best during his term. At this moment, reasonable criticism is more needed than irresponsible blames. Give him time to prove his ability.