According to Korea University’s Central Election Management Committee, among a total of 18,684 eligible voters, 4,307 students participated, giving a voting rate of 23 percent.
The HUSA, founded in 2004, was first moved to be established by Dong-A University in 2002. The association runs under the objective of being a single and representative mass organization of university students in Korea.
Approximately 17 affiliated universities’ Student Government Associations (SGA) and Students’ Unions are publically known to be its members, but the precise number of member universities is kept private.
“The latest activity we participated in was the half-price tuition movement which has been a controversial issue among university students for more than a year,” said Jung Yong-pil (Kyunghee University, 4) who is currently the 8th chair of the HUSA. “We also mainly take the responsibility of gathering opinions from university students nationwide and deliver our wants and needs to society and politicians.”
However, despite the favorable terms the HUSA offers, Korea University students continuously showed their dislike of being part of the association.
“The former Students’ Union acted more on the behalf of the HUSA than of Korea University students,” said Park Jong-chan (Korea University, 3), the current president of Korea University Students’ Union. “The problem surfaced last year when the Students’ Union neglected the worried voices of our students that were against a movement the HUSA wanted to promote.”
The Korea University Students’ Union has been a member of the HUSA since 2009.
During those four years of involvement, the university reached its peak when the 44th Students’ Union actively participated in HUSA activities last year.
In June 2011, when the union conducted a survey on its activities with the HUSA, only 8 percent of students said they were in support.
The current Students’ Union, Kodae-Gong-gam-dae, was elected with the highest supporting rate of 42 percent in November of last year. As a candidate, Park pledged to withdraw from the HUSA as his prime election promise.
“From last year’s results, we began to think about who the Students’ Union should exist for and decided to run for the Korea University Students’ Union elections with a pledge to leave the HUSA,” Park said.
The chair of the HUSA agrees with the notion that Korea University’s symbolic meaning and position in society is an important factor the association cannot overlook.
However, Jung feels the effect the university’s withdrawal will have on the HUSA would not be critical.
“With the presidential elections coming up, Korea University’s decision to withdraw from the HUSA is quite regrettable at this period for university students,” Jung said. “However, a studnets’ union’s movement to leave a group that does not meet the needs of its students seems quite natural and acceptable.”