SNU mulls ownership of cultural assets

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SNU mulls ownership of cultural assets

Seoul National University (SNU) is considering revising the school’s regulations regarding ownership of cultural assets that are managed by the school in order to resolve conflicts with the Cultural Heritage Administration.

In the museum and library at SNU, many cultural assets including nine pieces of national treasures, 30 pieces of nondesignated treasures and 180,000 old books are kept.

Some of them are registered as government assets but some of them are not.

The university is saying those pieces that are not registered as government assets but are in the school should be recognized as the school’s assets, but the government says they belong to Korea.

The two sides agree that the heritage administration should have ownership of those pieces registered by the government. But SNU thinks it should have ownership of those pieces that were donated by alumni or individuals.

“Donors gave those cultural assets to the university, not to the government,” an official at Seoul National University’s library told the JoongAng Ilbo. “We recently received letters that can confirm such facts from donors and sent those letters to the heritage administration.”

The university is currently trying to clarify the category for “cultural assets” by revising its regulations, which says, “Cultural assets that are not subject to the country’s cultural property protection law must be given away to the university if they are necessary for [school] management.”

The university said it will discuss details for the revision.

But the Cultural Heritage Administration thinks that it must have ownership for those unregistered cultural assets.

By Lee Seung-ho, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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