During the semester, lots of undergraduate and graduate students are going to stay in the school dormitories. Meanwhile, a curfew lasting from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. exists in the dorms that are under the direct control of the school. Students who have failed to enter a dormitory before the curfew hours have to stay all night outside, and this has become a real talking point. Therefore, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) now discusses whether the curfew should be maintained or lifted.
Reason the Curfew Is Imposed
Assuring the Security of the Students Living in the Dormitories
Most universities in Korea impose curfew hours for the sake of the security of their students. This policy can prevent students from wandering around in the late hours when most crimes occur. Besides this, it can also prevent visitors from entering the dormitory during the late hours. On January 16th, 2018, one drunken male student intruded into the female dormitory at Pusan National University and assaulted and molested a female student. A curfew existed in that dormitory, but the crime occurred during the examination period when the curfew hours are temporarily lifted. So, curfews are necessary for the security of the students living in the dormitory.
Assuring the Students’ Right to Sleep
For the rooms where more than two students live, students who go in or come out of the room in the late hours could disturb their room-mates sleep. Furthermore, sounds caused by the students wandering around the hall could disturb students in their rooms, too. In conclusion, a curfew exists to assure many students’ right to sleep from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and all dormitory students’ healthy lives.
|Shin-gwan in Natural Sciences Campus (www.samoocm.com)|
Problems Caused by the Curfew
Other Safety Problems
If students are late by even one minute during the curfew hours, they have to stay outside until 5 a.m. or receive a penalty. Most students choose to stay out, passing through a 24-hour café, a bar, or a school. It means that strict rules and regulations are throwing students into other dangers, and it runs counter to the original intention of the curfew. Also, whether the student who is in an emergency could go outside or not is unsure, because there is no specific regulation about students who are in an emergency situation during curfew hours. It is a severe problem threatening the safety of the students.
|24-hours Store (tomntoms.com)|
Violation of Students’ Autonomy and Human Rights
The age of the students living in a dormitory usually ranges from 19 to 28, which is the age of an “adult”, and is an age where people can make their own decisions. A lot of students, however, are disrupted by the curfew in terms of their activities such as school study or part-time jobs. Some of the students prefer part-time jobs that are later in the day because of the classes in the daytime, but the curfew often limits their choices. These problems are directly related to a severe violation of the students’ autonomy, which restricts the students’ operations of their own time although they are adults. According to the surveys presented by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on July 27th, 2018, 26.5% of the students living in the dormitories in Seoul pointed out that the curfew is one of the most serious human rights issues.
Enough Conversation Between Authorities and Students
According to the authorities, there is enough communication between the authorities and students. A feedback box is located in the lobby, and the students have to evaluate their degree of satisfaction about the dormitory life when they leave the dormitory. However, questions such as “Are you satisfied with the administration of the dormitory?” are not detailed enough to reflect students’ opinions. Furthermore, students rarely use the feedback box in the lobby. Despite the efforts of the authorities, the communication between the two of them does not work well. Therefore, the authorities should come up with a practical solution, and students should make an effort to deliver their opinion to the authorities actively.
Reinforcing the Security System
An entrance key and a janitor are the only forms of security system in the dormitory. The break time from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. for the safety guard is also applied on the weekend when the curfew is lifted. So, additional security systems are needed when the curfew is lifted. For the dormitories on the Natural Sciences Campus, slide-door gates are installed, so only one person can go in and get out at one time. The dormitories in the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus also have a fingerprint security system at the entrance and door-locks for each room. The dormitories, however, could provide an additional security system such as the speed gate that is installed in the central library.
|Evaluating the Degree of Satisfaction (kingoinfo.skku.edu|
Universities are educational institutions for adults who own their independent personalities, even though they are not perfect. Therefore, school dormitories managed by the universities should be operated in a way that students run their lives. Though some problems still exist, authorities and students can solve them through enough conversation and cooperation.
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