|Ewha Gyoji publishes an edition every semester. The 97th edition “Pyobaek-ju-ui” is displayed in their office. Photo by Shim Ha-eun.
Gyoji is an independent school magazine that represents the freedom of speech in universities. Unlike many other school presses, Gyoji is not funded by the school, therefore free from censorship. However, gyoji in many universities has ceased publication recently due to various reasons.
Gyoji of Konkuk University (KU) lost its status as a central student press organization due to its suspected corruption. On Oct. 8, KU’s Student Association announced its decision to expel gyoji from the independent student organization for unclear expense account reports and rigged elections of its editorial committee. However, the present editorial committee of KU’s gyoji insisted that the process of expelling gyoji was inconsiderate, and called for reconsideration.
“It is true that there were some internal problems in our management,” the official announcement of KU’s gyoji said. “However, only the resigned executive branch is responsible for the mismanagement. That cannot be a ground for kicking gyoji out of the independent student organization.”
A common reason of a gyoji shutting down is a lack of students willing to work for it. For instance, Seoul National University’s (SNU) gyoji, Gwanak, ceased to publish in 2014 because no one had applied for the editorial committee.
“Independent magazines’ closures are neither weird nor shocking,” said Kim Si-eun, the Editor in Chief of Ewha Gyoji. “The necessity of gyoji has been discussed for a long time since many other writing platforms appeared.”
“Some gyojis disappear, but at the same time new ones appear,” Kim said. “It is a natural phenomenon that changes by the needs of people. For example, while many other gyoji stopped its publication, a feminist gyoji was newly published in Sungkyunkwan University. I think gyoji’s existence is very flexible and changeable.”
Ewha Gyoji further commented they would continue publishing despite the decreasing readers, emphasizing the role of gyoji as an archive.
“Of course we need readers, but we won’t cease as we believe it’s important to record school affairs in the perspective of students,” said Bae So-jeong, a member of the editorial committee of Ewha Gyoji. “Moreover, since gyoji is published once a semester, it covers the overall flow more effectively than other publications.”
“Gyoji is very unique in a sense that it speaks up for the students and the minority when reporting school affairs,” Kim said. “We try not to be objective but sensitive, standing by the minority’s side. We cover the ones that are overlooked, sometimes, even ignored in a society. This makes gyoji necessary, being different from other school presses. As long as they need us, we exist.”