The Republic of Korea is noisy. A lot of candles light the night at the center of Seoul, and the citizens in Seoul cannot sleep because of people of all ages and both sexes’ shout to the government that is closing its ears. The highest proportion of demonstrators are probably aged in their twenties although all ages of citizens struggle. We can see the flags of colleges which we know well and we have not seen and heard, and we can hear their bloody voice in the actual spot. But where are the flags of Dankook University ? Where can we hear the voice of Dankook University students? Much to our regret, it is not easy to find the marks of Dankookians on the spot where Koreans fight to protect their rights. So are they in the demonstration for freezing tuition fees? It is too tiny to see it, if any. Why are Dankookians weaker countering injustice? Why don't they show their will to protect their rights? We want to see the causes of these problems by comparing and contrasting with other universities that are active in expressing their will and by looking back over the past.
▲ Students demanding a freezing of tuition fees
▲ Students marching for the candlelight assembly
Then, what did past seniors do for Dankookians rights? On May 29, 2001, about 300 students belonging to the General Students' Association of DKU struggled against the 8.1% increase in tuition fees at the president's office on the second floor of the main building. As a result, finishing the negotiation with the students, DKU which presented a 8.9% increasing plan on April 2, in 2004, finally changed the increase to 3% at the end of May in the same year and gave the difference back to the students. The refunded money was about 186,000 won to the Colleges of Nature and Engineering and 138,000 won to the Colleges of Humanities and Social Studies. Unlike the present, our past DKU was not insignificant compared to the other universities, because of the active students who insisted powerfully that their voice be heard.
The society in which we live now is full of individualism. People avoid their responsibility by thinking like this: “It is not my job. Someone will do it. So there is no problem if I don't.” From now on, throw away the thought that you care only about you. Our passive attitude should be changed to protect our rights.
“The government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” It is what Abraham Lincoln said, the immortal words, who was the president that freed the slaves and was chosen as the best president in the history of the U.S.A. The government exists for its citizens. So do the universities. We have to shout with our voices because we want to keep our rights from any deception and betrayal. When we lose our voice, we may become those people who don't have any rights to protect. Speak up.
Savio Lee, Chan Lee email@example.com