The 17th president election provoked controversy among the students, since the board rejected all of the students’ reuqests on the election system.
With the sudden intensification of COVID-19 crisis, many students have expressed interest in the election of the next president, which will decidedly shape the direction of school operation system and the process of online classes. As students’ complaints regarding the tuition reduction and the ambiguity of the method of conducting hybrid model classes are increasing, it became more important to elect the leader students want.
Starting from January, the Steering Commission of Student Representatives has officially made inquiries about the 17th president election. Through the joint action held in April, the student council insisted on the increase of student vote reflection.
At the beginning of June, the board members asked the student council to submit a proposal on how candidates should be recommended. The Steering Commission of Student Representatives analyzed the limitations of the direct presidential election system for the 16th president election, and devised a student proposal for a more democratic election system.
The students proposed three changes to the election system. First, the board of directors should directly discuss the 17th president election with each constituent unit of students. Second, only one person should be elected for a president candidate. Third, since the percentage of voting per student is less than 0.1 percent, student vote reflection should be increased.
On July 23, the board notified a resolution of candidate recommendation, but it turned out that none of the students’ requests were reflected.
Instead, the board’s resolution reported several changes in the candidate recommendation system. To begin, unlike the past when only the teaching staff were registered for candidates, external personnel can also be registered as a candidate. Moreover, the two student representatives changed to one undergraduate student representative. Furthermore, the corporate chairperson can arbitrarily appoint student members of the Election Commission.
In response, the Steering Commission of Student Representatives announced a statement condemning the board's resolution on July 28 and held a press conference the next day. From Aug. 4, each college has been joining the relay condemnation.
According to the statement that the 25th Student Council of ELTEC College of Engineering made through the communication channel in the relay, students desire to directly elect a president who respects the students as the owners of the school.
“President Kim Hye-sook, who promised to become the president for students, was the first president of a private university to be elected through a direct presidential election. However, over the past four years, we have realized that there is no president who will listen to students who have a small influence in the vote with a ratio of 0.0005 percent per student. We will not let our voices be unheard and excluded,” declared the student council, throughout the statement.
The student council of College of Art & Design, who also took part in the relay, shared its thoughts about the changes stated in the resolution. “Looking at the appearance of the board members who have not communicated with the school members so far, we assume the rules are revised in order for the directors to elect the president they want,” said Joint!, the 52nd Student Council of College of Art & Design.
Joint! pointed out that there is still a long way to go in order to reach the democratic system that the students want. “The school and the board deserve the condemnation for coming up with a resolution that does not reflect the students’ demands. We are very concerned about how the president elected through this resolution can represent the school for students, so we are currently in a position to request a re-decision of the nomination rule for president candidates,” Joint! said.