[EDITORIALS]Students guilty of a misstepThe incident on Monday in which some students at Korea University blocked a ceremony to award an honorary doctorate to Samsung’s Chairman Lee Kun-hee is sad. It shows that violence and other ill-considered acts still prevail on the country’s college campus. We have to ask how long our colleges will be dominated by a small number of radical students while the majority has to suffer in silence. This latest incident was staged by 100 students who belonged to student organizations opposed to capitalism and war.
Their way of exercising force was anachronistic, and the methods they used were also inappropriate.
The students chanted slogans that they were opposed to giving Mr. Lee an honorary degree because he is oppressing the labor movement, and they also wrongly labeled Samsung’s donation of 40 billion won ($40 million) to Korea University as a money-for-degree deal. With such a distorted understanding of the business world, how can you expect students educated at Korea University to be competitive?
With no explanation needed, Samsung is a company that represents the country and is acknowledged worldwide. There is no denying the contribution that the leader of this company has made to our society. The fact that five years ago Seoul National University bestowed an honorary degree in business on Mr. Lee is proof enough. While they charge businessmen for not fulfilling their responsibility to society, this time they denounced a businessman who donated millions. It only makes us feel sorry for the delusions of the students.
Korea University reportedly offered Mr. Lee a degree several times, but he had declined the honor. Students can oppose administrative actions by the school, but the methods by which these are expressed should be based on intelligent protest. There are many ways to express an opinion without using violence. To obstruct an invited guest’s way and engage in a shoving match with him is a severe break with etiquette. How could the faculty members and other students look on with folded arms while radical students create such a fuss?
In light of its 100th anniversary, Korea University is preparing to make a leap to become a world-renowned school. In order to produce students who can compete on a global scale the school has devised ambitious plans.
If that is the case, it is time for the student movement to change as well. We hope students who are still slaves to ideologies that are at odds with the current intellectual climate take this opportunity to reflect upon themselves.