Student representative council’s requests for an open hearing with Ewha’s president Kim Hei-sook have been repeatedly refused by the school. Such hearings have occurred in the past, but rarely did they meet the standards of the students. Thus, during the general assembly on March 29, students voted to open another public meeting with President Kim.
The school turned down the initial request for a hearing with the president on March 6, and proposed holding a board meeting with each academic department as an alternative. Considering this offer to be insufficient, student council representatives then visited the president’s secretary’s office on April 10 to state their position and to demand an interview with the Dean of Student Affairs. This meeting took place two days later, but failed to come to an agreement during the one-hour conference.
The student council has attempted to directly appeal to the president but has received notice that the president will follow the dean’s decision and will not meet student representatives. As a public hearing is something that the entire student body is demanding, the student council is to plan joint actions that students can take for their voices to be heard.
Until now, the school has said that it was already adequately reflecting students’ demands and “an open hearing with the president would be inefficient.” Mentioning the open hearing that took place in the second semester of 2017, the school replied that even without holding an open hearing, there are enough pathways for the school to communicate with students.
The school also stated that “the president is not completely familiar with the Ten Demands of Ewha Students,” and suggested a more efficient solution to be for the student council to work things out with the relevant departments in a board meeting instead.
However, as the decision to hold an open hearing was made at the general assembly on March 28, the student council is calling for the school take this demand more seriously. In a statement disparaging the school’s decision, the student representatives quoted, “whether an open hearing should be held or not, at whatever time, is up for the students to decide – not the school.”
The student representatives have said that their job is not to relay students’ pre-made decisions, but to enable students to talk to the school directly. Regarding the alternative solution the school proposed, the student representatives understand that board meetings with Ewha departments have occurred in the past, and are planning to continue the meetings this year. However, as an open hearing is an event where any student can participate to communicate directly with the president, the student council believes that an open hearing with the president will be “incredibly meaningful.”