Who do you think owns our university?
Who do you think owns our university?
  • Professor Lee Ji-young
  • 승인 2015.03.13 16:30
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It was my first day at the university, feeling half excited and half fearful. For a freshman who had just finished high school, this college class starting with a question, “Who do you think owns our university?,” felt unfamiliar. After a moment of silence, one answered that it is the chairman of the foundation, some the president and rest of many others. One at the back row rather asked, “Is it studies?” “Yes, it is. Here, it is the monumental work of studies. It is a place for those who pursue and devote themselves to studies. Thus, it cannot be pointed to one specific ownership. I hope for all the freshmen would be engaged in their studies and establish yourselves as owners of the university.”
Even though 20 years have passed since my graduation, I still remember the moment of overflowing enthusiasm. It will be always unforgettable for me. The reason I am starting with this episode is not only because it is the start of the new semester but also because I hope many freshmen of Ewha to be the owners of the school.
I do feel skeptical about whether the current era presents studies as the owner of the school. Looking at the fields of studies whose survival is in question just because they fall behind at employment rates, as a senior in scholastic research, I feel sorry for the upcoming generation in the field.
I cannot believe this reality can even take away the room of research just because it is not as efficient, even though there are students who aspire to devote themselves to those fields of studies.
Of course, university often bears huge loss to maintain departments that do not yield high employment rates and have few applicants when the number of students keeps decreasing, whereas that of universities increasing. Thus, even though I feel regretful, I fully understand that there is difficulty in offerng a solution that pleases everyone. However, I hope no sacrifice is forced upon students. Let us consider the solution that respects students’ right to choose altogether.

Professor Lee Ji-young received her Master’s and Ph.D degree from Ewha Womans University and is now teaching Korean Language and Literature at Ewha.

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