As the end of the term draws near, KAIST’s Undergraduate Student Council (USC) has had to deal with two major scandals within the few weeks between October and November. The first bombshell came on October 20 when the Central Election Commission (CEC), which is in charge of organizing and managing the 31st undergraduate student council elections, publicly announced on social media that their former chairperson had intentionally attempted to delete the archived records and manuals of past election cycles. This led to a series of events that eventually resulted in the dismissal of the current chairperson. In response to the departure, all of the other members resigned, leaving the CEC empty. The second crisis came in the form of the now infamous Choi Soon-sil Gate and the nationwide protests that ensued. In order to delve deeper into the workings of the USC and their reaction to these issues, The KAIST Herald interviewed the Vice President of the USC, Hang Park.
Please briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Hang Park and I am currently the Vice President of the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council.
After the public declaration against the state, what future actions have the USC planned to take in order to reflect the opinions of the student body?
We are planning to attend the nation-wide organized mass demonstration taking place in Seoul on November 12.
Aside from Choi Soon-sil Gate-related activities, what are the most pressing issues that the USC is pursuing at the moment?
There is not a lot of time left in our term so we are in the process of finishing up all of our ongoing projects and plans. Also, we are working hard to have a successful election cycle for next year’s USC.
Do you agree with the dismissal of the now former CEC chairperson from her position?
Yes, I do.
Do you think that her dismissal may have been motivated by personal emotions and histories?
No, not at all. I do not think that anything like that is and was relevant.
What has been the response of the USC to the current situation regarding the CEC?
There has been a lot going on with the CEC and consequently there have been quite a lot of work cut out for the USC in dealing with those matters. We have officially posted an apology online for the negligence in managing the accounts which were almost deleted, and following the resignation of the committee members, we have promptly sought to recruit new members.
How do you think the CEC should self-regulate moving forward to prevent such situations from occurring again?
I think that as an independent organizing committee, the CEC should have no problems moving forward if each member does his or her job and duty in the best of her/his ability.
What message do you have for the student body regarding the political situation at KAIST and in Korea?
I hope that we can come together as fellow colleagues and joins hands as we build a rational and democratic nation and society. I do not have much time left in my term; however, I would like to use that precious time to do my very best to bring all the present matters to a successful conclusion.