There has been a rise in complaints of strangers, especially men, entering the realms of Ewha dormitories. Whether it be a sweet boyfriend seeing off his girlfriend or a loving father sending off his daughter, regardless of the harmless intentions, it can be frightening and threatening to students when done in front of an all-girls dormitory at night.
Students express their frustration on Everytime, an online community for Ewha students, warning other students to not let strangers approach restricted areas. Nevertheless, the situation does not seem to be easily resolved.
A few months ago, a student wrote through Everytime that she walked past an Ewha student, her arms locked with a man − obviously a boyfriend, having a conversation about going to the E-house together, past 10 p.m. The student later mentioned in the comment section that she had reported the situation to the Safety Supervision Center and saw the campus police deal with it. Another similar post full of rage attracted over 300 likes in just a few days, indicating how many students are extremely agonized over the issue.
The Ewha campus is welcome to everyone regardless of whether they are part of the Ewha community. However, there are certain grounds that are strictly restricted for obvious and practical reasons. Floors that house classrooms, for example, are not open to strangers as their commotion disturb students taking classes. Also, arbitrary visits to the dormitories, such as E-house or Hanwoori House, are not allowed as well since it is a place where Ewha students reside. Just like any other houses, it goes against common knowledge for strangers to traipse near what are very private places.
Ewha Voice conducted a survey asking 70 students about their thoughts on the current issue. 84.2 percent of the responders have witnessed people that are not related to Ewha near the dormitory. Among those people, the majority, 61.7 percent, witness strangers once every week, and 6.4 percent every day. Although there are a few students that do not mind the issue, the majority, which take up a staggering 88.6 percent, strongly oppose it.
“I want to live at ease without the fear that a stranger, especially a man, might see me,” one of the respondents said. “The windows are very transparent, and the inside of the rooms can easily be seen from outside. It is unfair for me to have to keep the curtains down when I can and have the right to live comfortably without worrying.”
Moreover, since the school dormitories are located deep inside the campus, the responders doubted why someone other than the residents would voluntarily come.
There are security guards stationed in each dormitory building, monitoring the grounds 24 hours a day. Also, the Safety Supervision Center is one call away available for the residents anytime as well.
Nonetheless, in the survey, 82 percent of the students agreed that security regarding the restriction of strangers is not thorough enough. Many responders pointed out that the fact that complaints on this issue only seem to grow and they frequently encounter men on the dormitory grounds, calls for a tighter security system.
“The authorities informed me that unless it is past 10 p.m., when no visitors are allowed to be in not only the dormitory but any part of the campus, they cannot demand people to leave,” a responder said. “But I think this is absurd. So, do we just have to live with the uncomfortable situation?”
When a strange man is spotted near the dorms, some students suggest that their identities and purpose of visit be clarified by security guards. If he was accompanied by a fellow Ewha student, it was also suggested that she receive penalty points to discourage such behavior as well.
Above all, there seemed to be a fundamental problem underlying this issue, regardless of the current security system, that students are pleading to be improved.
“I strongly think the few Ewha students that bring outsiders, especially boyfriends, should realize the seriousness of their actions and rectify their wrongdoings,” a responder said. “He may be a comfortable and loving person to you, but to the other hundreds of residents, including me, in the dormitory, he is just a total stranger.”