On July 14, the Student Council of the University of Seoul (UOS), Close-up, announced that it had confirmed 22 pictures that constitute sexual harassment of female students in a campus online community. After inquiry, the uploader was identified as “Noh,” a UOS student majoring in Social Welfare. Noh uploaded them to the website between May and June without approval. The School Disciplinary Committee imposed a penalty of indefinite suspension. Noh posted an apology on the UOS online community, Gwang-jang. However, many members of Gwang-jang said that he had expressed very little sorrow to his victims and provided no clear statement accepting his fault.
Both female and male students expressed similar opinions. Jin-young Jwa (Dept. of International Relations, ’15) said, “Of course, it is only fair that he should be given indefinite suspension. I think it would be okay to treat these students even tougher, like considering dismissal from school.” Ho-yeob Kim (School of Economics, ’11) agreed. He added that he could not understand the deeds of Noh. “Hidden cameras themselves do not make sense but uploading those photos to the Internet is too much. I do not know the limits of suspension that the school can impose, but he has to be penalized as a criminal.”
Hidden cameras are not only a problem at UOS. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, there have been 6,759 incidents relating to hidden cameras over the past five years (2010~2014), and they increased at a rate of 46.1 percent over that period. This year alone, 2,283 incidents were reported as of July, compared to 1,100 cases in the same period last year, a jump of 107.5 percent.
Noh took photos by smart phone, but there are other ways to take such videos or pictures. People may easily buy and use many apparatuses including hidden cameras that look like ballpoint pens, neck tie pins, or watches. In other words, the university is no longer a safe place protecting students from hidden cameras. School authorities and the Student Council have to be aware of the seriousness of these incidents and find more practical alternatives to protect UOS students from the dangers of hidden cameras.