On November 20th, a public hearing of candidates of “Sparkle” for the next student council was held in the Natural Sciences Campus. It consisted of three main periods: a keynote address by the representative candidate of Sparkle, a policy questioning of SKKU’s four student media, the Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) Weekly, the Sungkyun Times (SKT), the SKKU Broadcasting Station (SUBS), and the SKKU Webzine(SKKUZine), and a policy questioning of Kingos.
|Sparkle of the Natural Sciences Campus (From Left to Right, Lee Dong-hee, Wi Do-yeon, and Chae Seung-heon)|
Regarding Sparkle’s election pledges on education, the SKKU Weekly asked several questions on behalf of Kingos. First, a reporter from the SKKU Weekly questioned that building virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for Kingos to use professional programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, would require a large amount of initial investment. Chae Seung-heon, representing the policy team of Sparkle, said, “We already required about this, and the school responded positively. The amount of money for initial investment would not be that costly compared to benefits that Kingos would get.” Next, the SKKU Weekly asked if Sparkle’s pledges on improving icampus have any differences from what the university has worked to make it better. Chae answered, “Kingos will get a notification if there are any notices in their classes and be able to check their attendance record on their cell phones as well as on the Internet.” There was a question about the impartiality that adjusting the application period for double majoring or getting back to school for next semester. Wi Do-yeon (Biomedical Engineering, 16), the deputy candidate of Sparkle, said that Sparkle would try to fairly operate the application system by giving the same number of chances to all Kingos.
Last but not least, in regard of Sparkle’s promises that it would work on preventing some Kingos from unfairly “trading” courses and improving the course registration system, the SKKU Weekly asked Sparkle to explain them in detail. In response, Wi said, “We will try to root out unfair transactions of courses by preventing Kingos from applying for additional courses when they are already done with choosing courses. This kind of system has been operated in universities like Kyunghee University (KHU), so we think it is possible enough to be introduced. To be specific, we are also considering dividing the course registration at appropriate time intervals.
Afterward, the SKKU Weekly questioned about how Sparkle could settle Kingos’ tuition fees despite the situation where the price kept rising and SKKU had a policy of abolition of admission fee by 2020. Lee answered, “The government has been supporting universities whose tuition fee remains more or less the same, and this fact means that Kingos would not have to pay more tuition fees. Indeed, the government will support universities by allocating 33% of the tuition with the national grants by 2030. We even checked the criteria for setting tuition fees that seemed possible for us to meet, so we believe there would be possible ways to settle tuition fees.” Then the SKKU Weekly asked Sparkle to explain in detail how it would use Kingos’ tuition fees. Sparkle answered, “We will spend Kingos’ tuitions in a way that Kingos can notice and appreciate in their lives. In particular, we will use the tuitions for our main pledges for the sake of Kingos’ welfare and better university lives.”
Regarding Sparkle’s pledges on communication with Kingos, the SKT asked if making an online board for Sparkle’s better communication with Kingos would be actually effective when it was not even clear how many Kingos were using “SKKU:ter,” the newly launched SKKU online community. Wi responded, “We recognize that SKKU:ter still has a long way to go to encourage more Kingos to join since it was just launched earlier this semester. Regarding the online board for communication with Kingos, we will encourage Kingos to share opinions using the online board on the SKKU:ter by promoting regularly on social media, such as Facebook or Everytime.” She added, “Sparkle’s online board will be different from other online platforms in that Kingos will be able to share their opinions not only with the student council but with other Kingos. That way, Sparkle will get to know better about what Kingos really want and their opinions on important matters.” In addition, the SKT asked Sparkle to explain how its online board would work in detail. In response, Wi said, “Kingos will be able to know how many other Kingos have the same opinion with theirs or at least acknowledge the validity of the opinions they share by checking the upvotes on their posts.”
Next, in regard of Sparkle’s pledge that it would put up standing billboards in front of three main gates that Kingos mostly used, the SKT questioned that some Kingos might not be okay with them since the billboards might turn into obstacles of Kingos passing by. The representative candidate Lee said that Sparkle had already talked to the school administrative office and that it expressed a positive response to that pledge. He added that the standing billboards would not be too big and would not get in the way of Kingos commuting to school. Moreover, Lee said, “Other than setting up the standing billboards to hear opinions from Kingos, we will try our best to explain fulfillment of our pledges using both online and offline methods. Offline communication does not mean that we would not distinguish it from online communication; we are considering generating QR codes for each billboard so Kingos can check out to share their opinions online as well.
In order to communicate with student councils from each college, Sparkle promised that it would organize a “task force team (TFT).” The SKT raised a question about its differences from the current central steering committee and how exactly it would work. Lee said that the TFT would be organized whenever needed, mostly when a college student council needs help to solve problems or to fulfill its promises for Kingos at the college. He added that the TFT would be independent of the current central steering committee; all the decisions the TFT make would be announced to every one of Kingos both online and on the standing signboards that Sparkle would set up.
The 1st Sparkle’s culture pledge is to hold the unified festival of both the Natural Sciences Campus and the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus in the 2nd semester. Since the 1st unified festival was held separately in the daytime and the night time in each campus in 2018, there were some opinions that it was not a completely unified festival. Therefore, Sparkle offers the pledge to hold the unified festival in the third place outside the campus. On the second part of the public hearing which was the questioning period of the school media, the SKT asked how to cover the rental cost of the place. In response to this, Lee answered, “The rental fee will be able to be covered by shortening the school festival from two days to one day. Moreover, we will rent the bus to provide transportation to the festival place so that Kingos will not feel uncomfortable to attend the festival.” The other pledge was to hold a sports competition between two campuses. Sparkle said that it will be the daytime content of the unified festival. The SKT pointed out that the sports competitions were held several times before but is not hold anymore due to less interest of Kingos. Then Lee answered, “Sparkle will try to provide better contents to encourage more Kingos to participate in the competition. Also, we will offer the official reports of absence to participants.”
Student Welfare/School Facility
One of the welfare pledges of Sparkle is to provide bus rental service at a cheaper price when Kingos go to a membership training (MT). On the second part of the public hearing, the SUBS asked Sparkle’s specific plan to fulfill the pledge regarding the cost. Chae Seung-heon answered, “We came out with this pledge because we thought that taking public transportation would be uncomfortable for Kingos every time they go to an MT. Therefore, we will offer the bus rental service to at least 500 Kingos per semester. There will be no limit on the capacity of each bus, and the cost will be priced based on the total number of Kingos on the bus.” Another pledge was to support sports competitions on campus. There is a Natural Sciences Campus League held by several departments and school clubs. Since this sort of support took place this year, Sparkle said that there will be no budget problem when fulfilling this pledge.
Regarding Sparkle’s group purchase pledge, the SUBS asked a question on behalf of SKKUZine that there might not be enough demand for group purchase of electronic equipment like laptops and cameras. Moreover, it mentioned that some Kingos thought that the 50th student council S:with had offered a group purchase of laptops at an unreasonable price. Regarding this possibility, Lee Dong-hee answered, “We heard that it was because S:with did not have enough time to search for the proper items and companies to offer Kingos. Nevertheless, we promise that we will make sure to have enough time to search the companies starting from the end of this year.”
In addition, Sparkle promises to open a board that offers Kingos useful information on the SKKU:ter website. The SUBS, on behalf of SKKUZine, asked that what kind of information it would upload on the online board. Lee Dong-hee answered, “Sparkle is thinking of offering information including scholarship, the exchange student program, school contacts, and any kind of information that Kingos may demand. The SUBS also asked the difference with the school’s one-stop academic service center that was newly established this year. Lee Dong-hee answered that Sparkle’s board would contain more various information and enable Kingos’ communications with each other. Answering the additional question about the false information, Wi Do-yeon said, “In order to prevent wrong information, Sparkle will fact-check the postings on the bulletin board.”
Another pledge was an increase in financial support for club room remodeling. On the last part of Kingos questioning, one Kingo asked how much will be increased to support club room remodeling. Wi Do-yeon answered that SPARKLE will be able to double the support because the total budget will be doubled from \1 million to \2 million.
There are other welfare pledges of Sparkle: offering more specific and systematic orientation to Kingos who return to school after taking time off and who transfer to SKKU, reinstalling women’s sanitary products vending machines, installing the Gold Lawn Square (GLS) system at print managers, and partnership discount with various services.
Sparkle has the pledge of developing seat reservation system of the library. Since there have been many complaints that many students do not return the seats when they leave the library, Sparkle promises to offer push notification service when students leave the library. On the second part, the SUBS asked if there will be any other difference from the current system except the push notification. Wi Do-yeon answered, “If needed, we are thinking of other efficiency measures, like automatically returning seats, limiting reservation of seats after automatic return, and accessing to seat returning service through the push notification.” Sparkle offers the pledge of developing dormitory environment, such as enabling divided payment of dormitory fees, changing the current entrance system with key tags, extending of the curfew-removed period during exam seasons. SUBS asked if there are needs to change of the key tag system among Kingos. Chae Seung-heon answered, "Kingos often lose the key tags, and reissues are quite expensive. Therefore, we are thinking of integrating the function to the mobile student card.” He added that Sparkle would conduct a survey asking Kingos' inconvenience at dormitories.
On the last part, one Kingo asked Sparkle’s pledge of changing the old phone chargers on the campus. In response, Lee Dong-hee said, “We will progressively change the charger from where most students use them. The school confirmed that we will be able to buy three new chargers, and the school will fix the broken chargers.”
Another facility pledge is to establish "S-park" where students can take a rest at student center building. Regarding this pledge, one Kingo asked how Sparkle would remodel the place to become a rest area and how to deal with the noise problems. Wi Do-yeon answered, “We will build "S-park" where Jaws Tteokbokki was located before. The main purpose of S-park is to offer Kingos a place of team projects. If there is a loud noise, the student council will be able to recognize because it is near student council room at the building. Then we will take an action.”
Students’ Rights at SKKU
The SUBS asked Sparkle of the pledge on offering a course for improving awareness of students’ rights to explain more information about it. In response, Lee Dong-hee said, “We are planning to make new video through outsourcing, and this video will be the course. Kingos can meet voluntary service time with this course. Our purpose is to activate that course, and provide Kingos with the opportunity to receive volunteer time.” Then the SUBS asked if such a video course could be a fundamental solution for preventing crimes on campus. As a response, Lee answered that the course would be made by professionals so that it could help Kingos properly. He expected that it would be different from any other education before in that problems in the previous course would be improved by this pledge.
Secondly, the SUBS asked if there were any specific plans for inspection of hidden cameras. Lee Dong-hee responded, “We already made a contact with the Yulcheon police station for its cooperation, and the police officers positively responded.”
The SUBS also questioned the reason why SKKU could not enforce this policy before and why some other universities could enforce this online course credit policy during military service. Chae Seung-heon explained, "SKKU answered positively when we asked if we could enforce the policy on allowing Kingos serving in the army to get credits by taking online courses. Therefore, we are going to prepare step by step for this policy. We are going to implement our pledge by revising students’ regulation first. Our purpose is enforcing this policy in 2020. Therefore, it may be hard to enforce the policy right away, but it is possible in the future by preparing for this policy.” The SUBS then asked Sparkle to explain the pledge in detail. Sparkle stated that the way of enforcing this policy was not decided yet, and therefore, it would need to discuss with other related people at SKKU. Sparkle added that they would follow precedents from other universities to make the policy most reasonable.
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