Class of 2016 raises voice against President at graduation
Class of 2016 raises voice against President at graduation
  • Kim Yun-young
  • 승인 2016.09.12 10:28
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Ewha’s protest for the abolishment of LiFE College has been unique in many ways. One of them is visible and vocal participation of the graduates. Thousands of alumnae are taking action as the protest has shifted its focus to demanding that President Choi resign,
“Resign, President!”
A student’s shout stunned the President on stage as well as the audience, before the graduates joined the chant that rang out through the Welch-Ryang Auditorium on Aug. 26, during the graduation ceremony of 2016. Although President Choi asked for five minutes of silence to proceed with her commencement speech, the chant did not stop. In the end, President Choi’s speech was delivered on a large screen.
“I feel greatly responsible as the President for the recent trouble in communication with Ewha members,” read the chief’s speech. “It is true that there were many cases when pending issues had to be processed under a tight schedule in order to collect a fruitful outcome for the betterment of Ewha. In such circumstances, there has been inadequate process of gathering Ewha’s individual opinion.”
When the time came for each graduate to enter the stage to receive her diploma, some refused to shake the hand of the President. The graduating class of 2016 had gone as far as disrupting their own graduation ceremony to deliver the students’call for the resignation.
“I was sitting on the first floor and there was a graduate student receiving a master’s degree who started off the chant,” said a graduate from English Literature Department who was at the scene. “My friend had tipped me off earlier that this might happen. Although some of my colleagues looked a bit bewildered from the sudden outbreak, I was ready and joined the chant with my friends.”
Outside of the school campus, more alumnae showed their support towards the students’ protracted protest. On Aug. 25, nine alumnae handed to President Choi a signed list of 2,900 alumnae demanding her resignation.
“We strongly support the students and the Ewha Faculty Council’s decision that the resignation of the President must be prioritized in order to solve this incident,” said an alumna during the press conference held on Aug. 25. “We are against all attempts of criminalizing students that defines their actions of ‘confrontation’ as an unlawful ‘confinement.’”
They also criticized the President’s continuous demand for a face to face meeting. Students have been arguing that face-to-face meeting cannot take place because there is no single leader to represent the opinions of Ewha students in this matter.
However, some opposing arguments arose among a group of senior alumnae.
“What we need is a unified Ewha rather than the President’s resignation,” read a post from a website for the Graduates’ Association. “Failure in administrative management will be inevitable if students continue to occupy the Main Hall after the fall semester begins.”
Yet, a growing number of professors are showing support of students’ action.
“Unilateral leadership and lack of communication have caused this crisis,” read a second joint statement signed by professors. “Calling for police intervention on campus put to shame the entire Ewha students and faculty. President Choi Kyung-hee must take this responsibility heavily and resign.”

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