[EDITORIALS]Abusing the facultyIn a bid to win the by-election for Busan mayor, Our Open Party appointed two Busan university presidents as co-chairmen of the party’s election committee for Busan mayor, and presidents of five other universities in the Busan area as election committee members of its campaign headquarters. Mobilizing seven university presidents en masse for a by-election is unprecedented even in presidential elections in the past.
We are curious to know what makes the election of a local government head so important as to make university presidents play the role of the ruling party’s vanguard? There might be no other country in the world where university presidents are mobilized in an election in a group. The party that made them take sides politically is also deplorable. University professors can join political parties and participate in political activities freely. It is a matter of their individual decision that they campaign for an Our Open Party candidate. But university president is in a responsible position and an intellectual who represents the faculty members. To their students, presidents have the duty to show an example as educators. Putting aside such noble causes, university presidents must exert all efforts to lead their universities to success. How can they snoop around the political arena? As they do so, the competitiveness of our universities is poor.
It is humiliating to hear them making excuses, saying, “I haven’t signed the application to join the party” or “I accepted the appointment because the wife of the candidate begged me to do so, but I never knew that I would be made a co-chairman of the election committee.”
In the last legislative elections, 60 university professors ran for National Assembly seats without resigning from their posts. When they skipped classes, students reacted strongly against them. Now, even university presidents intervene in politics en masse. If university presidents want to participate in politics, they must resign from their posts first.
Our Open Party must reflect on itself. In all previous governments, there was no precedent that university presidents were mobilized in a group like this. How can the party call for reform after doing this? The party must cancel the appointments of university presidents to its party posts.