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SNU OKs Government Election Oversight

Posted January. 21, 2006 03:01,   


Mokpo National University and the Daegu National University of Education at Seoul National University (SNU) agreed to let the Election Management Committee (EMC) oversee their presidential elections yesterday, bringing the number of national universities using the EMC to oversee their elections to three.

The SNU Council expressed its strong opposition to this decision by calling for the reconsideration of the Public Educational Officials Act, which says that the presidential elections of national universities should be carried out by the EMC through the Constitutional Court.

“According to the revised Public Education Officials Act that came into effect last September, the school’s presidential election should be taken over by the Gwanak-gu Election Management Committee,” said a source from SNU.

“Even though there was strong resistance among faculty members, and the National University Professors Council is moving to push the Constitutional Court to investigate the lawfulness of Public Educational Officials Act, we had to observe this law,” said a source.

Meanwhile, the SNU Council, the school’s highest decision-making body, presented a written opinion on this matter to the Constitutional Court yesterday. The council has already filed an appeal the court to investigate the lawfulness of this act last October.

In the written statement, the council argued, “The Public Education Officials Act is not parallel with the principles of academic freedom. While the court postpones its decision, the autonomy of national universities is rapidly being weakened.”

The SNU Council believes that the Constitutional Court should either accept its petition or nullify the effectiveness of this act before Election Day on May 10. Thus, it seems that the current stalemate between the government and SNU on this matter will not be easily broken.

Currently, SNU has come under criticism because its acceptance of government intervention is being viewed as a defeat in its fight with the government.

“The school’s council and president, who stressed the school’s autonomy a few days ago, decided to accept governmental intervention,” said an SNU professor. “They will face strong criticism later because they didn’t fully consider others’ opinions and did not work on alternative measures.”

SNU’s presidential elections are typically held 60 days before the termination of the current president’s term of office. However, this coming election will be held 70 days before the term expires (on May 10) under the EMC. Of 51 national universities, 13 universities have plans to hold presidential elections this year.

Se-Jin Jung mint4a@donga.com