On Oct. 10, on Ewha’s online community board, Ewhain, an anonymous student from Korean Music put up a post about unfair treatment from professors and their abuse of authority towards students. The post reached 1,000 views in a short period, gaining support from students and graduates who sympathized with them regarding the claim that they have suffered from unreasonable treatment due to vague class regulations, verbal abuse, and intrusions upon their human rights.
According to the disclosure, before every summer break, Korean Music majors are forced to attend a music camp program that costs over 200,000 won, which could be a financial burden to many students. Participation is mandatory because professors threaten to take points off absentees’ grades, which can be devastating for graduates of the music department. Professors were also alleged to have collected money from absentees, raising concerns about possible violations of the Kim Youngran Act or the anti-bribery law.
It was also claimed that an excessive amount of practice time is demanded of students, causing stress and even illness. One professor’s comment towards an ill student sparked controversy as the professor was reported to have said, “Taking care of one’s health is part of selfregulation.” This is believed by some to imply that the illness was the student’s fault and that she should have come out to practice regardless. Because one failure can mean a delayed graduation, students have no choice but to participate in the stressful practice sessions that run for hours. As it does not count as part of the regular sessions, students do not receive credit for the long hours spent practicing.
Moreover, reports of inappropriate comments and withholding earnings from performances have been added to the list of student grievances. Students have reported instances of sexually prejudiced remarks such as women’s driving ability or harassing comments like “Save your virginity because men like virgins. Offensive remarks about Ewha students were claimed to have been made as well, such as “Do you come to school to protest?”
Furthermore, students were denied payment for playing recitals at Korea University’s chapel and were required to cover their own transportation fees, while at another recital at Yonsei University Wonju Campus, students were only payed 20,000 won each despite the long distance.
After the post had received immense attention and support, the professors of Korean Music gathered on the same day and held two emergency meetings the following two days. On Oct. 17, the faculty met with the student council, and on Oct. 18, the meeting was attended by any student who had wished to attend. Three meetings have been held so far, with the last one having taken place on Oct. 29, in which both students and professors participated.
The Office of the Comptroller has conducted inspections by asking professors to confess to their wrongdoings willingly. The office sent a message to all professors in the department of Korean Music which read, “Any action that has been against the Kim Young-ran Act should be reported. You will not be exempt from any legal punishment.”
The head of the Office of the Comptroller notified students on Nov. 8 to bring papers in person about the wrongdoings of the professors by Nov. 14. According to the notification by the Office of the Comptroller, professors will be interrogated individually based on the reports students have turned in. The office stated that only the victims themselves were permitted to turn in a report about what they had gone through. According to an anonymous Korean Music student interviewed by the Ewha Weekly, she expressed how difficult it was to miss arrangements planned by the professors. “Professors told us that if we did not want to participate in the music camp program, we needed to talk to them individually,” the student said. “I wonder who could bravely state their opinions when they could face immediate disadvantages.” Students in the department of Korean Musics stress that investigations should be carried out properly. They also insisted that authorities have work closely with students to solve the matter.