The Law of Higher Education Act was amended to limit the ratio of each party to 50 percent or less in the Korean Universities’ Board of Trustees.
On Nov. 9, the installation of the Board of Trustees became mandatory among all Korean universities, public or private.
Before the amendment, only private universities and two public universities, Seoul National University and Incheon National University, were regulated on mandatory installment to the Board of Trustees.
Since the amendment, public universities have had to install a Board of Trustees that school faculty and students can participate in. By restricting the ratio of each party to 50 percent or less, the ratio of students and school faculty in the Board of Trustees are expected to increase.
“A Board of Trustees is a university deliberative organization that makes decisions on a school’s major agendas that students and faculty can participate in,” congressman Lee Dong-sup said in the amendment proposal. “We are going to install the Board of Trustees under the national law, regardless whether the university is public or private.”
Until the amendment, professors constituted the majority on the boards in most public universities. Therefore, according to the amendment, the professors’ ratio is expected to change.
Although other public universities’ students are welcoming the amendment, science institutes such as KAIST are not subject to the regulation.
“We welcome the government’s decision to allow autonomy to the school members,” said the 31st KAIST Undergraduate Student Council PUUM, according to the commentary posted on Facebook. “Regrettably, the amendment does not apply to science institutes, including KAIST, and we therefore request voluntary improvement from the school.”
Currently, the Ewha Board of Trustees is comprised of 11 people: four professors, two employees, one student, two alumnae, and two university development trustees. Though the student ratio does not violate the amendment, dissatisfaction continues regarding this ratio.
At the press conference in June, President Kim Hei-sook promised to increase the student ratio. Therefore, student demands are ongoing.
In response to such demands, at the open meeting with the president held in September, Kim stated that she would increase the student seats to two students, including the representative of graduate students. The revision of the articles of association will be made at the end of November.
“Two student trustees would be appointed to the 5th Board of Trustees, which begins in January 2018,” said the Office of University Planning and Coordination. “Although this revision may not be enough to meet all students’ demands, but this is our compromise regarding the various demands from different parties.”
Some students feel that the compromise increase in the student ratio is insufficient.
“It’s a shame that the student ratio has not risen as much as expected,” a freshman from the Department of Political Science and International Relations said. “I wish that further improvement would be made, as this is a crucial issue related to the communication between students and the school.”