For two years in a row, the Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) has become the student body representative on Seoul Campus. This year, there were no candidates for the General Student Council (GSC) president and the vice president. In order to discuss how the EPC became the student body representative, and what their objectives are, The Argus went to interview the EPC president Baek Yu-jin and the vice president Nam Han-gyul.
The Argus: Hello, could you please introduce yourselves?
Baek Yu-jin (Baek): Hi, I am Baek Yu-jin, a junior Politics Science and Diplomacy major. I am currently the 51st EPC president, and the president of the Department of Social Science .
Nam Han-gyul (Nam): Hi, I am Nam Han-gyul, a senior German Education major, and currently the 51st EPC vice president.
The Argus: What was your impression when you got elected as the EPC president and vice president?
Baek: I felt dazed at first as I did not expect myself to be the president of the EPC. We choose the president by voting, and until the results are out, no one can really predict who the next president will be. Now I am less dazed, and feel a great sense of responsibility as the president of the EPC.
Nam: Just as the president said, no one knew who the president and vice president of the EPC would be. When I got elected, I was happy in some ways but also nervous at the same time. Now that I am elected, I will work harder than anyone so that the students will not feel disappointed with the EPC.
The Argus: Students are not familiar with the EPC. Can you please explain to the audience what the EPC is about?
Nam: First of all, the biggest difference between the GSC and EPC is that the GSC is formed by the votes from the student body while the EPC is not. But other than that, the authority that the EPC has, if you look at the student regulations, is not much different from that of the GSC. So you can say that we are basically doing what the GSC would do for the student body.
The Argus: Can you tell the audience when the EPC gets formed and about its conditions?
Baek: The typical case in which the EPC gets formed is when the GSC election founders. Other cases could be when there is a vacancy due to an accident or other personal issues.
The Argus: Can you explain when the GSC gets cancelled?
Nam: There are two elections held each year, in November and March. Until now, when the election founders in November for example, we had the system of having the EPC until March, at the next election. But now the regulation has changed, and even if the November election gets cancelled, the EPC does not get formed. It gets formed only when the March election gets cancelled, and the EPC stays until the November election.
The Argus: What are some immediate concerns that the EPC has right now?
Baek: I guess the main concern of the EPC would be the election of the HUFS president. On a separate note, I personally think the issue that lots of students feel frustrated about is the course registration system.
Nam: The election of the HUFS president would obviously be an important issue for us. In other universities, students get to participate in the university president election process whereas HUFS does not do that. Normally when we talk about the main agents in a university, they are school personnel and students. But students not being able to participate in the university presidential election is ironic. On a different note, the university festival is in May, and we want to re-allow alcohol at our festival. Alcohol has been prohibited since 2012, and regarding the bringing back of alcohol to our school festival, we want to ask students about it and communicate with the school to come up with a conclusion.
The Argus: What is the goal you want to achieve as the president and vice president of the EPC?
Nam: I want to focus on bringing back the GSC in the November election. For those who want to participate in the GSC, we want to help them by advising and guiding them to really make sure they can settle.
The Argus: What is the biggest obstacle you are facing?
Baek: That everything is new is the biggest hardship I am facing lately since this is the first time, as the president of EPC. The other great burden is the tremendous amount of issues I have to deal with, being president of the Student Council in the College of Social Sciences.
Nam: We have a long list of upcoming events such as “Dae Dong Je” and “Nong Hwal.” We were appointed on March 24, and we have been rolling for two weeks since, and it is really challenging to get them all sorted out.
The Argus: HUFSans may not have much attention on the GSC. What policies or plans do you have to raise their awareness?
Nam: We are well aware that most HUFSans are not actively participating. “A league of their own,” I even heard. I personally and completely understand what they are talking about, reflecting on our demeanor in the past. Thus, I reckon we need a “Direct Democracy” system. The school regulations state that there are “Policy Votes” and “Total Student Votes,” which are directly reflecting opinions from HUFSans toward general issues; and yet we have never invoked them. It should be a successful way to raise their awareness and build mutual trust, if we put these systems into action and make HUFSans feel more actively involved with us.
Baek: Every single issue is crucial in promoting welfare for HUFSans, but issues taken seriously by the GSC, and those taken seriously by HUFSans cannot always be identical. Agendas like rights to elect the president of HUFS could be more crucial for the GSC while bettering course enrollment system is the biggest issue ‘smack-dabbing’ HUFSans. Taking both kinds of issues into account at the same time would hopefully raise the level of participation from all members of HUFS, and we might as well plan to put ourselves into the public eye by paying visits to classes for promotion and public relations.
The Argus: We would like to hear a brief outline of your plans for this year.
Nam: Simply put, sorting things out smoothly is the biggest goal. There have been a lot of unpleasant events lately on campus, sexual harassment, for instance; therefore, it would be better if we had a means to prevent such disorganizing events so that we could gain trust and build up the GSC next year.
Baek: There will be some HUFSans who think the EPC will not be able to get much done in service of students. Nevertheless, we have successfully endeavored to do our public work so far. The EPC will keep up its work and hopefully hand the reigns over to the next GSC.
The Argus: Any messages to deliver to our readers and HUFSans?
Nam: We will make our positive changes and take a step forward. We implore you to pay us close attention. Criticism, compliments, and most basically, attention and participation are the keys for improvement. It is a fact that we get less attention since we are an EPC, and that indifference hurts our morale badly. It is an unprecedented case in which the EPC takes place for two consecutive years on Seoul Campus in its history, and this is the time we need students to take part as proud members of HUFS, wielding their lawful rights. Just like what we learned throughout the impeachment of former South Korean president, constant observation and mutual feedback are crucial for gaining trust, and a better tomorrow.
Baek: We need to take more action to deal with public welfare since we are members of the Central Management Committee, but this is always about regular HUFSans. We will make our best effort to familiarize ourselves with the process and reduce the psychological distance because no good policy writes itself.
By Cho Jae-won, Park Ji-yong