Political studentsStudent representatives from 42 universities across the country have announced their support for Lee Myung-bak, the Grand National Party’s presidential candidate. They said they would make a tour of universities across the country and appeal for Lee. That means they will actively take part in the election campaign. We wonder if it is right and fair that the Grand National Party planned this event and the school representatives agreed to the plan.
The Grand National Party says it has prepared for months for this campus campaign. The party categorized universities by region and let its members contact student representatives to seek their opinion.
Beginning with this year’s presidential election, the voting age has been lowered to 19, so the votes of university students will become more important. But that can’t justify mobilizing student representatives and making them announce their support for Lee.
Under military rule, the only organized forces were soldiers and college students, so students naturally became the vanguard of the democracy movement.
But now our country has democracy, so there is no reason for university students to detract from their studies by taking part in politics. It is wrong to attract students into the political arena. They need to study and think about the future. The GNP has organized support among professors and now it even wants to put students to work for its cause.
The student leaders who signed up to support Lee must reflect on their action. Everybody is allowed to express their opinion on politics, but it is wrong to announce support for a certain political party and a certain candidate as a student body representative instead of as an individual. It is dangerous for student representatives to intervene in politics, regardless of the political opinions of other students. That may cause misunderstandings and creat the impression that all students from a certain university support one candidate.
For the same reason, the chancellor of Chung-Ang University had to give up his post in Lee’s campaign, because his partisanship caused trouble on campus.
The GNP must abandon this plan to take advantage of student representatives in the campaign. It will only contaminate university students who will be the leaders of the country in the future.
Student representatives must not be enticed into politics, no matter how tempting the offer may be. We urge them to maintain their status as students and act accordingly.