President Choi Kyung-hee held a fruitless third round of “Talks with Ewha students and the President” on Aug. 31 after two other unsuccessful talks aimed to communicate with students on Aug. 24 and 26 at ECC.
For the third talk, only 22 students attended, including four reporters of the Ewha Media Center. The majority of students who have been occupying the Main Hall kept their seats in the building. Such a stance was not seen as a surprise, since protesting students had sent an email to school faculties indicating they would not attend the President’s talk. Nevertheless, the two-hour event covered the issue of President Choi’s resignation and the school’s controversial plan to establish LiFE college, which was called off on Aug. 3 after a week of protest.
“To President Choi, we cannot attend the talks you have prepared today,” started the letter sent to the school by the students at the Main Hall. “Despite your letter to the police requesting no criminal investigation or indictment on students who were involved in the sit-in protests, three students have been called for questioning by the police on Aug. 22. We cannot attend the event with our individual satety not assured.”
Understanding the students’ fear of attending the talk for security reasons, the President explained that the school is taking all measures to help the three students.
“The eight faculty memebers who were at the Main Hall on July 28 and 29 wrote a letter of plea on Aug. 23 to the police,” said President Choi. “Sincerely, we are the last people who want the students in custody or have any involvement with the police.”
In regards to the the low level of student attendance, Choi said it is due to the trust issue between the school and students, or the students’ unwillingness to speak directly to the President. She repeated, “I cannot say much right now. But I truly hope that my utmost sincerity toward dialogue and reconciliation will be conveyed to my students.”
Another hotly debated topic was over what the university called an incident of media misrepresentation regarding LiFE college. On Aug 28, “Ssul Jeon,” JTBC’s political talk show, incorrectly reported that the college had intended to offer two-year vocational programs involving training for nail polishing among other professional skills.
“I have not watched the show, but I heard the school called for an official announcement to be made by the show to correct its misrepresentation,” Choi responded.
The talk also covered the issue of how the school could improve their skills for communication with students and others.
“From now on, the school must share with students their plans that are deemed important before making their final decisions,” said a participant who wished to remain anonymous. “The school must also allow more students to attend the faculty meetings instead of having only one student council member represent the whole school.”