Student president starts hunger strikeEwha’s student representative Son Sol began a hunger strike on Oct. 1, demanding the realization of six proposals from students. The school soon addressed this action by expressing its stance toward the issue. A week later, on Oct. 8, a meeting between the Student Government Association (SGA) and the university president proceeded.
The spark for the conflict ignited in mid-September, when the school underwent many changes in school policies and Be Ewha demonstrated against these so-called “dogmatic decisions.” In response, on Sept. 15, the SGA started its RESET Project, criticizing the school’s unilateral implementation of new policies and demanding six reset proposals.
The six proposals are as follows: reintroduction of the exam period, opening of the University Library for 24 hours, public discussion with students regarding college reconstruction, prior notice of new policies, withdrawal for the abolition of the “3.75 scholarship,” and increase of lockers in Ewha Campus Complex.
As a part of the project, 1,703 students voiced their support by writing messages on stickers that were delivered to Ewha’s president along with the proposals. On the following day, the SGA demonstrated with picket signs and requested the school’s response. During the last picketing, one of the signs read “If there is no answer by Sept. 30, the SGA will start a hunger strike,” which consequently led to RESET Project Season 2.
RESET Season 2 consists of the student president’s hunger strike and 1,000 students’ fax messages to the school. Students can also join the hunger strike for one day.
The school states that on Sept. 30, before the hunger strike began, it delivered the will of the university president to solve the confrontation through discussion.
“We hope the student president does not hurt her health,” said an official from Office of Student Affairs. “Before the strike took place, the schedule for a meeting with the school president was set. Also, the school suggested a due date for the response to the six proposals. We feel sorry that the SGA went ahead with the hunger strike all the same.”
Regarding the school’s stance, the SGA said that the school’s answer did not offer a specific plan for accepting the proposals. Requesting the disclosure for the exact progress of the school’s realization of the proposals, the SGA stated that if the purpose of the conversation is only to persuade Son to end the hunger strike, no meeting would take place.
“A day before the hunger strike, we did receive the school’s suggestions for a meeting,” Son said. “However, we thought it was not a promise for accepting the proposals. Thus, we decided to proceed with the hunger strike as well as meeting with the school.”
Four days after the strike, a wall poster presenting an article written by the Vice President from the Office of Student Affairs, titled “Concern over Hunger Strikes of SGA and Call for Resumption of Dialogue” was posted at various places on campus, including the POSCO Building and the Student Union Building.
“To gain results during the term, the SGA has been pushing the school by unilaterally stating students’ demand with the due date for its implementation,” said the official. “The school cannot make abrupt decisions, for from an integrative perspective, the stability and sustainability must be considered.”
Since a hunger strike is not a common approach and is directly related to one’s health, students are showing concern. While some consider it an overreaction, other students appreciate her actions.
“The student president’s decision for a hunger strike itself signifies that she is carrying out her mission at the risk of her life,” said Kim Sung-Yeon, a sophomore majoring in English. “For true improvement of Ewha, I hope the school respects her passion and listens to students.”
After five hours of meeting with the university president, the SGA uploaded the results of the negotiation on its Facebook page. The SGA’s comment was that students’ proposals are not reflected as expected. According to the posting, the school suggested further negotiation on matters such as lockers and the exam period. However, freshmen would not be able to receive 3.75 scholarships, and opening reading rooms for 24 hours would not be possible for financial and safety issues.
Following the results of the meeting on Oct. 8, until there is a clear determination to put the proposals into practice, Son’s hunger strike will continue.
저작권자 © Ewha Voice 무단전재 및 재배포 금지