Ministry of Education bans students’ liquor sales at university festivals
Ministry of Education bans students’ liquor sales at university festivals
  • Wee So-yeon
  • 승인 2018.05.27 12:48
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The Ministry of Education (MOE) sent official notice to universities notifying them of a ban on selling alcohol on campus during university festivals. Until last year, although the legislation on liquor tax indicated that students selling liquor without a license was illegal, such an act by students was not punished. The regulation originally indicates that violation can result in a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment or a 30,000,000 won fine and that officially, students cannot be an exception. However, students’ liquor sales were punished for the first time starting last year, with Inha University as the first school to be fined ‒ specifically, 9,000,000 won ‒ for selling alcohol on campus during its festival. Last year’s sole punishment of Inha University raised questions on the ban’s fairness since it was the only university punished despite the fact that most other universities also sold alcohol. Traditionally, university students in Korea set up drinking booths and invited celebrities to their school to celebrate the festival. Students in each department or club would sell alcohol and food cooked straight off the booth to raise money and support their organization. However, this tradition was broken from this year due to the announcement of MOE and schools responding more sensitively to its warning. E;ffect, the 50th Student Council of Ewha, responded by notifying students about the announcement and urging them not to sell drinks during the Daedong Festival, Ewha’s annual school festival, which took place from May 15 to 17. Booths that used to sell alcoholic drinks therefore had to change their items, cooperating with the notice. The Division of International Studies, which used to sell cocktails every year, changed their items to lemonade and grapefruit ade instead. The student councils of Yonsei and Sogang University also made official announcements encouraging students to cooperate with the legislation. T h e s t u d e n t c o u n c i l o f S u n g k y u n k w a n U n i v e r s i t y, however, announced that they would leave the decision on selling liquor up to students. Consequently, some departments did hold liquor booths on campus. The Department of Fashion Design opened its booth this year, however, in a way that did not violate the legislation. They did not sell liquor, but using their own money, they prepared some drinks for students and gave them out with the food to whoever visited their area. The public’s views regarding the current notice of the Ministry of Education are divided. While some welcome strict regulation that can prevent potential problems with alcohol consumption on campus, others expressed their objection because of confusion arising from the MOE’s late notification. “Since the official document was sent to school on May 1, we only had a few days to change the long tradition of the fixed items that our department had sold,” said Lee Seong-hyun, a sophomore of Sungkyunkwan University. “Also, we had fewer student customers coming to enjoy the festival, compared to the previous year, because there were no booths selling alcohol.”

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