SNU president kept stuck in his office during sit-in

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SNU president kept stuck in his office during sit-in

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Students and staff of Seoul National University stage a sit-in protest outside the office of SNU President Oh Yeon-cheon. The sit-in ended at 3:30 a.m. yesterday. [YONHAP]

The president of Seoul National University was forced to spend most of Thursday night in his office after being blockaded inside for 12 hours by students and staff who staged a sit-in outside his office to demand a larger role in SNU’s transition from a state-run university to an independent one.

SNU President Oh Yeon-cheon was scheduled to give a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Thursday on the establishment of a committee to lead the public university as it becomes an independent corporate entity.

The names of committee members were to be announced at the press conference.

But Oh failed to attend the press conference when his office was blocked by about 200 students and university workers who occupied the hallway outside. Oh was finally able to leave for home after they ended the protest at 3:30 a.m. yesterday.

The protesters are demanding that Oh include a member of the school’s labor union on the committee or give them the right to select a member of the board of directors.

Jeong Yong-cheol, leader of the university’s labor union, said the union asked the university several months ago to be included in the process.

“We occupied the hallway because the university attempted to unilaterally announce the names of committee members without accepting our request.”

In December, the National Assembly passed a bill to transform the nation’s top state-run university into an independent entity in a move to raise the school’s efficiency and global competitiveness.

Oh and his predecessor, Lee Jang-moo, pushed for incorporation under the belief that there is more to gain than lose if SNU were free from government control. SNU will be run by a board of directors that elects its president. In the past, SNU professors elected the president.

While all state and public property, including the university’s buildings and land, will be handed over for free to the university, SNU can retain government funding.

SNU said it had difficulty keeping distinguished foreign professors on its faculty for long periods because the government’s restrictions prevented the university from providing the benefits and salary that they deserve.

The school’s union members, however, have demanded that Oh accept their demand to be included in the transition because they would experience enormous changes.

More than 900 of 1,000 school staff members are in the labor union, and members have said they are concerned that incorporation could threaten their job security.

The school’s staff has been paid as civil servants, but under the new system, they would lose the status of civil servants and be paid under a new annual salary system that allows the school to pay workers based on their performance.

An SNU official defended the planned makeup of the committee. “The committee must include experienced people because it was established to design the school’s long-term development plan,” the SNU official told the JoongAng Ilbo.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

서울대 노조·학생 총장실 복도 점거

법인설립준비위 구성에 반발…총장 새벽 4시 퇴근

안홍석 이지헌 기자 = 서울대 법인화에 반대하는 교직원과 학생들이 총장실 앞 복도를 점거해 오연천 총장이 1일 새벽 4시까지 퇴근하지 못했다.

서울대는 지난달 31일 오후 3시30분 교내 행정관에서 `국립대학법인 서울대학교설립준비위원회` 구성 관련 기자간담회를 열 계획이었으나 일부 교직원과 총학생회의 반대로 간담회가 무산됐다.

`서울대 법인화 반대 공동대책위원회(공대위)` 소속 교직원과 학생 400여명은 총장실이 있는 행정관 4층 복도를 점거한 채 설립준비위에 노조 인사를 포함시키거나 법인 설립 시 이사를 선임할 수 있는 권한을 달라고 요구했다.

오 총장은 31일 오후 9시30분께 퇴근을 시도했지만 노조원과 학생이 막아서면서 퇴근을 포기하고 다시 총장실로 들어갔다.

이 과정에서 본부 직원과 점거중인 노조원 간에 몸싸움을 벌여 오 총장의 안경이 벗겨지기도 했다.

서울대 관계자는 "오 총장이 노조 대표와 면담에서 `몸 상태가 좋지 않아 하혈까지 했다`며 피가 묻은 수건까지 보여줬으나 점거를 풀지 않았다"고 전했다.

노조는 이후 이뤄진 면담에서 본부 측이 대화를 지속하겠다는 의지를 보임에 따라 오전 3시30분께 점거를 풀었다.

오연천 총장과 일부 단과대 학장, 주요 보직교수 등 15명은 점거 12시간 만인 오전 3시56분께 집으로 돌아갔다.

노조 측은 "대학측이 우리 요구에 충분히 공감했고 대화를 계속하기로 했다. 앞으로 복도를 점거하지는 않을 것이며 단식을 통해 투쟁해 나가겠다"고 말했다.

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