Last year around this time, the identity of The UOS Times was questioned and challenged by its publisher. His point was that The UOS Times used to be a medium that introduces English journals to UOS students and gives them a chance to learn and become familiar with English. However, now that many students are already good at English, The UOS Times no longer has the same importance that it did in the past and thus, there is no point of having English media at the university.
We wrote him a long report, listing all the points why there should be English media at UOS and reaffirmed the identity and role of The UOS Times. The increasing number of students who are fluent in English was not the only matter that should be considered. Rather, the growing impact of globalization, the increasing number of exchange students at UOS, and consequently, more demands and necessities for English journals were what really should be taken into consideration.
In fact, it is not just The UOS Times, but the identities and importance of many other universities’ English media are also being challenged and doubted by schools. A few universities’ English media have actually been abolished and others are facing budget cuts. At this point, where English media are being threatened at almost every university, what should we do? First and most importantly, we should strengthen our capabilities to provide better quality magazines or newspapers. If more students are becoming fluent in English, we should of course try to provide them with more challenging and advanced levels of English articles, which not only gives them a chance to learn English but also to widen their perspectives to think differently about various social issues.
Furthermore, since most of the universities’ English media share the same problems, we can cooperate to make ourselves more systematic and influential organizations. In fact, more than 21 university publications, including The UOS Times, have gathered and made an organization, the Union of Korean College English Media (UKCEM). Its members are currently actively interacting with one another and striving to contribute to the maintenance and development of English media at universities nationwide since the beginning of this year.
I do not think we are truly in a crisis because there is always a chance to make this crisis into an opportunity. If we continue to strive both individually and collectively as a union to confirm our identities, we will be able to show all the reasons why the universities’ English media should be maintained and perhaps even discover some new ones.