The “Ewha welfare rights committee (EWRC)” and its U card project were questioned of its legitimacy at a meeting of the Central Steering Committee on October 13. A student representative committee composed of the Student Government Association (SGA), representatives of each department and the president of the United Committee of Student Clubs said that the EWRC, a self-governing agency, lacks transparency and collects collects personal information without definite purpose.
U card is a membership card sold on campus for 1,000 won and gives students access to discounts or other various advantages from 173 commercial facilities in Seoul. It includes 17 universities in Seoul with over 20,000 members.
At each school, the U card project is operated by either a student government or an autonomous agency. SGA refused to undertake the project, but 12 Ewha students volunteered to carry it out and formed EWRC. At Ewha, 2,800 Ewha students have signed up for the card.
To get the U card, students are required to provide private information including their name and home address. The CSC stated that students should be cautious in giving out personal information to the EWRC, “an unauthorized school organization.”
“Since the card contains our school mark students might mistake the EWRC for an official school organization,” said Kim Yun-hee (Law, 4), the current vice-president of the SGA. “But it is not.”
Kim claimed that it is a breach of the Enforcement Decree of the Use and Protection of Credit Information Act to obtain any private information without the approval from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) which serves as a consolidated policy making body. “The EWRC has no such approval,” said Kim.
The CSC also criticized the EWRC’s lack of transparency in their business operations, saying it is problematic for the committee, a group not registered as a business entity, to collect 1,000 won from students.
The EWRC says the allegation is misleading. When the welfare committee consulted Kang Hyung-sung, lawyer of the SuRyun Law Office, they say they were told that the personal information the group obtains from students is unrelated to the Enforcement Decree of the Use and Protection of Credit Information Act.
Kang also told the EWRC that they do not have to register as a business entity as they do not receive any direct benefits from the commercial facilities.
“Personal information is simply used to register them as a U card member,” said Heo Hee-Su (Sookmyng Women's University, 4), the head of the U card project at the student association from Seoul-based universities. “I hope students know we are carrying this out to support the students.”