DUP backpedals on proposal to dismantle SNU

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DUP backpedals on proposal to dismantle SNU

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The opposition Democratic United Party took a step back from its plan to dismantle Seoul National University, saying it has not decided yet whether it would push ahead with the plan for the December presidential election.

Lee Yong-sup, the chief policy maker of the opposition party, said during a meeting with fellow lawmakers at the National Assembly yesterday that his party is receiving opinions from various sectors of society on the issue and is yet to formally declare the plan as an official pledge.

“Once reviewing those opinions, the DUP will then decide if it should adopt the proposal to its platform for the December election,” said a two-term lawmaker.

Lee also remarked it is not “a proper way to describe forming an alliance of nation universities as ‘SNU termination pledge’ or ‘total merger of national universities,’ ” and said “it will take some time for the DUP to form a decision” beneficial to the country on the issue.

The change in tone came one day after the remark made by Lee that his party is considering dismantling SNU’s undergraduate program and instead forming an alliance of national universities in the country as part of efforts to reform the national university system.

Lee told reporters on Monday in order to relieve the country’s suffering from “excessive competition in college entrance” and “rampant academic cliques,” such a profound change is necessary.

The chief policy maker said should the plan be implemented, national universities including SNU will be part of an alliance which would allow exchange of credits, lectures and professors.

The DUP’s reform plan has drawn a strong backlash from students at SNU, the nation’s most elite education institution. Some SNU students went online to criticize the idea.

On SNUlife, the school’s online community, comments such as “Even if the plan becomes realized, Korea and Yonsei universities will work as another SNU” or “Let’s vote for the Saenuri Party to prevent the DUP from implementing its pledge” were seen.

Another student demanded Ahn Cheol-soo, SNU professor and a potential presidential contender, state his opinions on the reform plan.

Nam Ik-hyun, director of planning and finance at SNU, said during a radio interview with CBS yesterday that the DUP’s plan will “downgrade the overall quality of universities in the country.”
By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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