On November 21st, a public hearing of candidates of “Sparkle” for the next student council was held in the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus. It consisted of four main themes based on the candidates’ pledges: tuition fees/education, student welfare, communication/culture/job, and school facilities. The public hearing in the order of keynote address by the candidates of Sparkle, a policy questioning period 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.
As a response to a question from the SKKU Weekly, Kim Ye-ji (Consumer and Family Science, 15), the representative candidate of Sparkle, answered, “The burden on SKKU and Kingos is expected to be reduced due to an increased budget of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and a decreased budget for the scholarship.” She added that admission fee is going to be curtailed 13.4% annually from 2018 to 2022, and Sparkle’s plan is to supply at least 33% of admission fee to national grants. Then the SKKU Weekly raised a question on the effectiveness of budgets from the MOE. Regarding this, Sparkle mentioned that it would be possible to cover the finance of SKKU with the MOE’s budget on higher education, which is expected to be allocated 4.8% more than last year. Since the amount of money from the MOE accounted for only 5.1% of the whole income of the university, there was a question if getting more support from other institutions would be helpful to secure enough money for Kingos’ tuition fees. Kim Jae-hee, a member of a policy team of Sparkle, said, “Other organizations supported a total of \200 billion, and 10% of it was used for school budgets in 2018. Theoretically, it is possible to curb a rise in tuition that each student pays about more than 1% with \2 billion.”
Another reporter of the SKKU Weekly asked if Kingos could actually feel the decrease in their tuition fees thanks to Sparkle’s fulfillment of its pledges. Regarding this, Kim Ye-ji said, “Sparkle is going to look through where exactly Kingos’ tuition fees are used. If there are any parts where they are overallocated, Sparkle will discuss spending that money on developing school facilities and welfare for Kingos.”
There were active discussions on having a consultant in the Student Fee Committee. The SKKU Weekly asked Sparkle about having an external consultant, saying that the 50th student council, “S:with,” had an external consultant. Kim Jae-hee of Sparkle replied, “We question if having an external consultant is necessary because there is a consultant already in the committee. Listening to his explanations on things, such as technical terms used in papers, is enough. The enormous sum of money would be needed to hire an external consultant, and therefore, we think that it would be more desirable to use that money for Kingos instead.” Based on the answer from Sparkle, the SKKU Weekly then questioned about the impartiality of the consultant in the committee, saying, “Since the consultant is supposed to be appointed by a direct approval by the President of SKKU, he or she may interpret articles from the committee from the university’s point of view, not from Kingos’ points of view.” Kim Ye-ji of Sparkle replied, “I understand there is a limit that derives from the consultant’s status and will not set aside having an external consultant with only the minimum burden of money.”
Lastly, there was a question about disclosing information about tuition fee to Kingos. Kim Ye-ji responded, “Making inquiries to the school for more information on equivocal elements of where tuition fees are used is possible. We will take a measure to help students check the details.”
After some questions on tuitions, the SKKU Weekly asked Sparkle about the integration of the Course Registration website and the Course Bag and if the possible server overload might happen due to the integration. In response, Lee Ah-hyeon (Global Economics, 16), the deputy candidate of Sparkle said, “There are already many schools that successfully integrated the two systems, so this will not be much of a problem. Moreover, since the server overload problem needs to be solved in a long-term period, the school is already planning to work on it.”
Next, the SKKU Weekly questioned that the school might have no intention of acquiring an additional capacity for Kingos, in particular for those who would retake the required courses such as Computational Thinking. Kim Ye-Ji replied, “Procuring additional capacity is more realistic than making additional classes. Additionally, the University College’s administration office also agreed with the need for the increased capacity specifically designated for course re-takers. We are planning to do so by making arrangements with the College of Software.”
The SKKU Weekly also pointed out that since improving the icampus and Gold Lawn Square (GLS) systems was already a plan of the university, the completion of the two could not be seen as the fulfillment of campaign promises. In response, Kim Ye-Ji replied, “We will help the upgrades reflect as much Kingos’ opinions as possible, along with improving the speed and making the menus simple. The school doesn’t really have specific plans for the reform of GLS, and we will make sure that the Kingos’ opinions be well reflected in the plans." Kim Jae-hee of Sparkle added, “The school always delayed the reform of icampus and GLS, and against this delay, Sparkle will be adding new features such as the push alarm system in the icampus application to make the already existing applications as comfortable as possible until the reform is done. In addition, Sparkle noticed that the school used to reflect only a small number of complaints made through official routes. Sparkle will make it possible for the school to reflect the students’ opinions “before” reforming the school system by conducting surveys."
Finally, to the point that S:with was not able to carry out the military service credit recognition and how Sparkle plans to keep the pledge, Kim Ye-Ji replied, “The reform of the school regulations for next year is already done, so we probably won’t be able to keep the pledge next year. Nevertheless, we will be the stepping stone for the implementation of the military service credit recognition by reforming the necessary school regulations for 2020.”
SKKUrity: Complete Enumeration of Hidden Camera
SKKUZine asked about the hidden camera’s complete enumeration: External restaurants and cafes that are not in school do not have much inducement to take participate in the investigation. SKKUZine asked for what could be the additional inducement to external restaurants and cafes. According to Sparkle, when external restaurants and cafes acquire examination certification that ensures there are no hidden cameras, it will be such a good promotion to attract consumers.
The second question was about the pledge’s side effect. According to SKKUZine, there has been a big reduction in the time and cost for installation of hidden cameras recently. Thus, there is a possibility of reinstalling hidden cameras. SKKUZine asked what preparation Sparkle has. Sparkle answered that there are going to be routine inspections of the hidden camera which are not noticed. This inspection system will avoid the side effect suggested.
Batch Installation of Required Programs
SKKUZine asked about how the batch installation of programs will be running and whether those programs are going to be installed in SKKU’s common PC room or in student’s individual PC by getting a license. Sparkle answered the installation of programs is only possible in common PC room. Sparkle made consultation with Adobe to install Adobe Creative Suite 6 (Adobe CS6).
Running the Student Cafeteria During the Icampus Exam Period
SKKUZine asked about problems that occur when running the student cafeteria on Sunday. It would cost the problems of operating costs, labor costs, and working hours. Sparkle answered that the situation has already been discussed with the SKKU. After inquiring into the student support team, there was a positive reply that SKKU would run the test running in the first semester of next year, and if the demand was sufficient, SKKU would run it every semester.
SKKUrity: Additional Emergency Bell Installation near the SKKU in Jongno-gu
SKKUZine asked about the specific installation region that just explains "near the SKKU" and specific explanation of how the pledge is going to be in process. SKKUZINE asked how the security guard connected to the surrounding police station will work after installing the emergency bell and how Sparkle will maintain and manage the emergency bell. According to Sparkle’s answer, SKKU and Hyehwa Police Station are under Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU). Sparkle will ask for additional emergency bells and installation of existing emergency bell signboard at Hyehwa Police Station. The existing emergency bell will also be inspected. Emergency bell installation area will be mainly about living place of SKKU students.
Sparkle's speech consisted the aging of the shuttle bus, but there was no pledge about shuttle bus in the actual policy book. SKKUZine asked if there are any commitments related to the shuttle bus. Sparkle answered that as they know that shuttle buses will be getting out of use by 2020, so they said that the making pledges related to shuttle buses would be useless. Therefore, the pledge about shuttle bus was not included. Since the running of the Jongno 07 bus in SKKU is currently suspended now, however, it will be conducted under close scrutiny if Sparkle becomes a student council. After Sparkle’s answer, there was an additional question; if the shuttle bus disappears and Jongno 07 bus does not run through SKKU in 2020, students’ inconvenience is going to be increased. SKKUZine asked for a prompt plan. Sparkle answered about the additional question; First of all, the shuttle bus will be running until next year because it will disappear in 2020. The way Sparkle thought was to introduce a new shuttle bus or to make consultation with the town bus like what previous student council tried to do. Sparkle is, however, still a precinct house, not the student council. Sparkle cannot promise pledge right now which requires a mega budget. In the case of Jongno 07 Bus, however, Sparkle plans to push for direct consultation if Sparkle becomes a student council.
Distribute Breakfast to the SKKU Reservists
There was a question from SKKUZine about how the background of the pledge for the SKKU reservist was made in Sparkle, not in the graduate preparation committee. In response to this question, Sparkle told that although the reserve has been excluded from the preparation committee for graduation from this year, there are about 2,500 student reserves in the SKKU annually, and they still want reservist breakfast. Therefore, Sparkle replied, "We are considering whether to apply the \1,000 breakfast through the cooperation of the alumni to the reserve forces or to distribute the reserve army food through the sponsorship of the alumni association." Following Sparkle's response, additional questions have been raised whether the budget has yet to be decided about the distribution of the reserve army's breakfast. Sparkle answered yes, but said three proposals are under consideration. For now, the Sparkle is considering about to spend \3,000 per person for breakfast, considering the total budget of \7.5 million. The \1,000 breakfast through a preliminary demand survey, alumni sponsorship and promotion are three of the measures that Sparkle has considered. Sparkle added that they will try to distribute high-quality snacks and breakfast as possible.
Dormitory Welfare Policy
The welfare policy related to dormitories is only about meal stamp payment in installment, and SKKUZine asked a question if there are additional dormitory welfare policies. Sparkle replied, "We are considering extending the curfew hour to 2 a.m. and cutting the price of laundry in the dormitory by half." Other questions have been asked about the Dormitory pledge. In the case of the existing system, this made students to buy their meal stamp that will be used in a whole semester, allowing the company to easily predict meal's demand at the beginning of the semester. This enables the company to offer meals at cheaper prices. If students buy the meal tickets in a month, however, the price of the ticket is expected to rise. Sparkle answered to this problem that individual ticket prices will rise but total sales will decrease, which block the waste of tickets. Therefore, before implementing the policy, Sparkle said they will conduct a survey for students living in the dormitory in December. Also, the dorm’s restaurant company will find that the amount of food wasted can be reduced, which can be the trigger factor. The price increase may be a burden for students, but the total purchase amount will be reduced as they will only buy as much as they eat.
There was another additional question from SKKUZine whether this means that there is no current estimate of the cost of the increase or student preference survey. Then Sparkle answered, "That is true, but Sparkle is not deleting the existing payment system, but adding a monthly payment system to the existing system which will allow students to buy a small portion of their meal tickets at a higher price or buy like before. This means a guarantee of various options." A further question was proposed. Students can still purchase extra tickets for a day at the dormitory. In addition, in reality, the monthly meal plan is expected to be not that competitive than individual food stamps. So SKKUZine asked whether the pledge is ineffective. In response, Sparkle responded that it is important to give students more choice than price problem.
Improved Payment Environment by Issuing Certificates
SKKUZine said it would be nice to improve the payment environment through Toss and Kakao Pay, but they are also curious about Sparkle's specific budget plan because it would cost a lot of money. In response, Sparkle answered, "As a result of consulting with SKKU's communications department office, the communications department office sees payment environment needs to be improved and considers Kakao Pay positively." Sparkle replied that they would ask for a public tender when the enterprise, which is currently under contract, comes to the termination of a contract next February. The additional question was that the inclusion of payment service companies such as Kakao and Toss in the payment environment is quite a big change, and whether there are precedents from other universities. According to Sparkle's survey, it is underway at Mokpo National Maritime University.
Improved Print Manager Environment
The Print Manager computer is owned by other company, not SKKU. The improvement and update of the Print manager's computer environment are not possible for SKKU and should be made by the company, and there was a question from SKKUZine about what incentives are being offered to the Print manager enterprise. Sparkle answered that it has been a long time since Print Manager was installed, so its performance is not good and it takes a lot of time to print. Therefore, Sparkle is planning to ask the company to improve its computer’s environment. Since the contract period between the Print Manager and the SKKU is up to 2020, the company would bear its investment to extend the contract.
After the press' question and answer session, a question and answer time were given to ordinary students. The first question was about hidden camera sticker pledges. The student asked if it was true that Sparkle can solve the hidden camera issue by attaching a sticker on restaurants’ and cafes’ toilet and not notifying the camera check period. Sparkle said, "The hidden camera investigation will be conducted on a regular basis, not on a one-time basis. Therefore, it is a way to prevent the hidden camera problem generally.” In addition to the additional questions received, the student said it was not convincing enough that the hidden cameras would not be installed for fear of being destroyed by the investigation, because of the easy reinstallation of hidden cameras and a large amount of video caused by hidden cameras. The student also said that it would be practically difficult for many SKKU students to feel safe when considering the time or price it costs to put up a hidden camera compared to time or price that costs for development of figuring out so many hidden cameras. In response, Sparkle responded, "We are currently under agreement to conduct an investigation on 40 toilets for about \1 million, and this is a pledge that focuses on removing and catching the existing hidden cameras."
Then a personal question was suggested. Café and restaurant that do not have hidden cameras will have promotional effects by attaching stickers, but if the hidden cameras are said to be found, many consumers will not go to the cafe and restaurant, which could influence negative effect where hidden cameras were in their toilets. Sparkle answered that it was a sticker to inform students that SKKU just finished up their inspection, and hidden cameras had been removed if it was installed secretly in the toilet.
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