In October, South Koreans saw the eruption of the 2016 political scandal known as Choi Soon-sil Gate, which involved Choi exerting significant influence over President Park Geun-hye and her administration’s policy and decision making. In response to this issue, many universities in Korea expressed their discontent.
On October 27, the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council, K’loud, held its declaration of state of affairs in front of the Chang Young Shin Student Center (N13-1). 97% of the 1490 KAIST undergraduate students who responded to a survey issued by K’loud had expressed their support for the declaration, which was spearheaded by Kloud’s Vice President, Hang Park. Multiple people stood their ground on 3 p.m. that day to deliver the declaration as a whole as well as individual statements. With the title “Who Are You, What Are We”, K’loud collectively declared, “President Park has misused every legitimate right given by Korean citizens and handed them over to Soon-sil Choi, a mere individual.” In essence, K’loud denied the legitimacy of “President Park, who violated the constitution without penitence.” In addition, K’loud brought to light President Park’s KAIST Honorary Doctorate Degree awarded to her in 2008 by former KAIST President Nam-pyo Suh, emphasizing that “as those who were educated in the hall of truth known as KAIST, we call for the rescindment of President Park’s KAIST Honorary Doctorate Degree.” Ordinary students also stepped forward to give personal speeches.
Following the declaration of state of affairs, K’loud hosted an assembly on November 3 urging the rescindment of President Park’s Honorary Doctorate Degree. This meeting was similar to a cultural festival, hosting performances related to the issue and was organized by the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council, KAIST Graduate Student Council, and National Varsity State of Affairs Assembly group. Despite the cold weather, multiple students sat in front of the KAIST Main Administration Building (E14) to participate in the ceremony that lasted for approximately one hour.
Meanwhile, a heated debate ensued among KAIST students, both online and offline, surrounding the declaration’s legitimacy. Some students have raised contentions that K’loud has not accounted for the opinion of KAIST students to its fullest extent, citing the short voting period, which undermines the council’s credibility as an apt representative of the students.