|▲ Site of Cheonan Campus dormitory.|
A school dormitory is a second home for students. They rest, sleep, and study there. Many students are away from home for the first time while attending university so they are extremely attached to the dormitory. However, there are many reoccurring problems in the dormitories. Even though many students make complaints every year, there is no sign things are getting better. The Dankook Herald (DKH) conducted an investigation into the problems related to the problems in dormitories.
Many students are living in school dormitories. The living situation is similar to communal living and there are rules between students who live there and their dormitory administrators. Dankook University (DKU) dormitory rules are posted on the dormitory website. However, most of the Dankookians have problems with them.
Around campus, Dankookians have posted many different hand-written notices about the dormitories. One student, sent a story to a reporter regarding dormitories being their home. It said, “The head resident went into a women’s dormitory room using their master key without permission from the student before entering.” These kinds of incidents happen a lot in the dormitory every year. Park Se-hee (Freshman, School of Communications) has experienced this situation as well as her friends and classmates. Other subjects mentioned in the handwritten poster were about no food or drink being allowed inside. This is the most critical point of contention students have with living in the dormitory.
|▲ Site of Jukjeon Campus dormitory.|
The DKH interviewed Ms. Park. Most of the students know their belongings are examined in the dormitory. The rule book says the head resident will undertake room inspections to assure living conditions and cleanliness every month. However, Park disagrees that this is in the best interest of the students who live there. She believes it is an invasion of privacy. She also said, “This is same as someone entering your home when you are away and goes through all your belongings.” While the students understand that the head resident of a dormitory is inspecting rooms for the safety of the residents, she would prefer an appointed time be set for the room inspection in advance. They want to protect their right to privacy.
While privacy is definitely a point of contention, the biggest problem is with food. Students can’t understand why food is not allowed in the rooms when there are refrigerators provided. Even stranger, while delivery of chicken or pizza is permitted, lunch boxes, Gimbap or instant cup ramen is not allowed, leaving students to wonder what the problem is.
In the meantime, for example, the dormitories of Yonsei University (YSU) adapted a self-regulating system. They don’t have any regulation about bringing food into their rooms nor do they have a head resident checking rooms. They do, however, have a curfew. YSU’s dormitory at their Songdo Campus has a large convenience store and wide open space to eat in the basement.
The dormitory problems on our campus are a reoccurring serious issue. The opinions are mixed between students and the university. The DKH interviewed Park Seong-beom (Dormitory Team Leader), to hear his thoughts on the opinions of the students. Mr. Park works for the students in the dormitory and gives them guidance. He said that the most important thing in dormitory living is its rules. “A dormitory a place where many different people cohabitate and the problems always come from the minority and the majority suffers as a result. Consequently, security has to be in strict when enforcing the rules. However, we never overstep the line in terms of student privacy,” he explained. The DKH asked him about the accusation that security entered rooms without permission.
He said there were some misunderstandings on this issue and he is looking into the situation. He received a complaint and the rules state that when a complaint is received, he has to investigate. Room inspection without prior notice and consent has never happened and will not happen. When they complete a room inspection, they first announce it and then check.
Furthermore, room inspections happen only when students break the rules. The examiners know their belongings are private. Once a student reported he lost his room key, security went into the room and checked it. However his roommate came back and misunderstood what was happening. They apologized to the student and resolved the misunderstanding.
With regards to the complaint that the rules are too strict, Mr. Park emphasized that the dormitory is the place where lots of people live, so rules need to exist. He recounted a story saying, “A few days ago, some students brought alcohol into the dormitory. They drank it and made some noise. Other residents complained and we checked the room. When these things happen, some students feel badly for their actions, but some don’t understand what they did wrong.”
“These kinds of things happen even there are rules. Imagine if there were no rules to control this kind of behavior. Students would be out of control. They would not be able to live in the dormitory. So this is not control or imprisonment, but rather the rules are a consideration for people who wish to live together,” he added.
At the end of the interview, he wanted to say one thing, “Security in the dormitory is only for guidance, not for any other reason. Even though some people treat us like criminal, we actually modify the rules along with the students and want to hear their concerns. We just need to keep in mind that consideration for each other is needed when we live together.”
In order to resolve these difficulties, there should be a clear compromise between students and the university. It is helpful to look at how other universities deal with dormitory rules and gather recommendations from students living in the dormitories. However, residents have to temper their complaints and try to make sure they aren’t just being selfish. Working together, they can find reasonable solutions that hopefully suit everyone.
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