On Oct. 21, a controversy over military-like discipline in the Department of Music arose in one of the Facebook communities of the UOS. An anonymous student from the Department of Music posted a piece accusing the department of placing excessive burdens on freshmen. The piece illustrated the abusive relationship between freshmen and seniors in the Department of Music, and this drew attention from UOS students overall.
Among the behaviors cited in the post was a military-style ranking based on class year, in which freshmen were required to greet upperclassmen. Upperclassmen also delegated tasks such as cleaning classrooms and the building to lower-classmen.
The students who advocated the original poster said that the amount of discipline described was not proper in college and the custom should be eradicated. On the other hand, other students saw the piece as an exaggeration of the situation and said that order such as that described in the post was common and necessary to maintain society.
As the controversy grew, the student vice-president of the department entered the discussion, taking the side of the upperclassmen who disagreed with the original poster, explaining why the custom has continued, considering what he called “the department’s distinctive situation.” However, Young-joon Kim, student president of the Department of Music, subsequently posted a statement admitting the existence of these customs and presented an apology to the victims.
On November 4, the student council of the Department of Music convened a general meeting to announce their stance on the issue and hear opinions from students. There were discussions over customs such as demanding that lowerclassmen greet seniors and allocation of work among students. The structure of communication within the department was also discussed in an effort to improve the reflection of student opinion. However, the student council did not announce how they would solve the problems discussed.
In the wake of the controversy at the Department of Music, an anonymous student in the Department of Life Science reported a similar situation there. These incidents may bring more reports to light, followed by further reflection among all UOS students.