|Students gathered in the cold morning of March 8 to protest in front of the Jinseonmi-guan. Photo by Son Young-chai.
The four-way consultative group for the 16th presidential nominee election held its seventh meeting on March 8. The main theme of the meeting was the eligibility to run for presidential election. During the meeting, students held a picketing protest to have their voice heard on the importance of abolishing age limitation for the presidential nominees.
“Sideliners have no rights! Age limitation is cowardly!” protested students on March 8.
The consultative group consists of nine representatives, with two individuals each from the Professor Council, the Personnel Labor Union, the Graduates’ Association, Starting Ewha, and one from the Graduate School Student Government Association (SGA). They held seven meetings since Feb. 9 to seek an agreement on the presidential reform.
Meanwhile, Starting Ewha conducted a survey to gather students’ opinions on the eligibility of the nominees.
The second student debate for the democratic election of the 16th president was also held on March 8. In the first half of the debate, the SGA explained their demands toward the Board of Directors with students freely speaking their opinions on each topic. The topics included the need to directly elect the president and not the nominees, the permission for the candidates to use placard during their campaign, the members that should be included to vote for the president, the need for the voting ratio to be 1:1:1 for professor, staff, and student, and more.
“Increasing student vote ratio was the only issue that the SGA strongly asserted even before the four-way consultative group was formed,” a Liberal Arts College senior told Ewha Voice. “Yet, the negotiation is slow in progress because the professors are not agreeing to it. Since the sit-in protest in the Main Hall, students’ major demand was a presidential election method that all school members can agree on. As professors speak of excluding students from the vote, our situation hasn’t changed one bit since last summer.”
The second half of the debate discussed the eligibility of presidential nominees. The debate heated up as students emphasized the necessity to abolish age limitation for presidential nominees.
Currently, stickers and banners protesting the regulation against nominees aged 61 years or older can be found all over campus. The stickers, produced by a Task Force formed in Ewhaian, reads “Stop the board’s tyranny,” “We’re still not finished,” and “Age limitation is cowardly.”
While the school hopes to have the new president by its 131st anniversary on May 31, Starting Ewha believes that setting a deadline would not guarantee a sufficient inclusion of school members in the election process.