Last December, the Student Council declared its elections unsuccessful due to low voter participation, with less than 50 percent turnout and only three colleges electing presidents to sit on the College Student Council. The Central Election Commission held elections for the Student Council and College Student Council between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1, 2017.
In the Student Council election, two teams ran candidates: Dohwaji (Drawing Paper, in English) and The Pleasant (La-on, in pure Korean). Following the campaign period, elections started on Nov. 28. However, the supervisors had difficulty encouraging students to vote. According to election rules of the University of Seoul (UOS), polls remain open if turnout has reached 40 percent. However, turnout on the first day was 8.9 percent, which was less than that of the by-election in March 2017 (12.914 percent).
The Central Election Commission tried to increase participation by installing outdoor polling stations along Central Street (Joongang-no, in Korean) and extending the polling period from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, but these efforts had no effect, and ultimately elections failed to reach the quorum. Later in December, one of the former candidates, Seok Myoung-hwan (School of Business Administration, ’16), was elected as the acting president by the representatives. He will lead the acting Student Council until March 2018. In March, on a date still to be determined, the Central Election Commission will hold a by-election to elect a president.
In the elections for the College Student Council, a representative body consisting of presidents from each college in the university, only three out of eight colleges cast votes: the College of Urban Science, College of Natural Science, and College of Public Affairs and Economics. Five colleges did not hold elections. Current incumbents are serving as acting presidents in each college until the by-election in March. The three colleges that held elections were all able to choose new presidents.
In comments on these results, Kim Min-sung, the former president of the Student Council (Dept. of Science in Taxation, ’12) said on Gwangjang, the UOS online community, that such low participation is a shame. He added that he was very sad for the students who did not vote in the election.