[EDITORIALS]Student tuition protestsStudents at public and private universities are protesting against rising tuition fees.
Students at five universities in Seoul have already taken over their college administration buildings and held sit-in protests.
This sort of student strife against tuition payments has become an annual event at the beginning of every school year for the new teams of student government leadership and Hanchongryeon, the banned student activist group, to demonstrate their exploits to fellow students.
In no other part of the world can we see students so frequently storm in and seize the university president’s office. It is nothing but an exercise of force that students occupy school offices, paralyzing the business of universities, because schools increased tuituion by 6-10 percent.
Just as they learn to solve problems by mob action in schools, they will try to resolve problems in their lives after graduation from universities by the force of the group or the power of numbers.
Rational negotiations seem to have gotten lost in the process. There is an organization on every campus for negotiations over tuition fees.
In the last decade, tuition fees at private universities in America have gone up 42 percent, and students there have gathered to protest but have never stormed into a president’s office to take it over.
Even in European schools, students have never acted as violently as our students have.
Tuition fees amount to 63 percent of the income of the 155 private universities in Korea. Only 6 percent of the budget comes from the school endowment. The rest is filled by private donations and government support.
Private schools with weak financial foundations need to firm up those foundations, not just raise tuition. More donations should be solicited and the financial structure of the endowments must be improved.
The school must not use tuition fees to add to its endowment. If the school’s finances are transparent and honest, they should find no difficulties in using their procedures to punish students who stormed into their president’s office.
Universities should not be places where violence and abusive physical power are born.