Sookmyung Women’s University's 20th presidential election was held as a direct election in which all members of the university participated for the first time since the founding of the school 114 years ago. We got the chance to quench our curiosity through an interview with Dean of Graduate School Myeong-seok Lee, Chairman of Labor Union Jeong-gyu Lee, Student Body President Ji-hye Lim, and Alumni President Jong-hui Kim. They provided various views on this direct presidential election, which will be recorded as a historical event that led to the innovation of Sookmyung.
Dean of Graduate School Myeong-seok Lee
This is quite a change from the former multiple candidates voting system that only teachers could participate in. After experiencing the official candidacy, registration, policy announcements, and debates, I can feel the change of Sookmyung. As I saw the polling booths, I took great pride in the democratic electoral system as all members of Sookmyung participated. Although the responsibilities of the new president will be more important than ever, I have some personal wishes of my own. Despite the current financial challenges faced by private universities, I hope the new president can encourage internally stable education and leading research through steady financial support. From an educational perspective, I hope our school can quickly adapt to changes through curriculum embedded with the spirit of the fourth industrial revolution. Research is a true competitive advantage of the university and requires a lot of consideration, and because of the limited resources, a differentiated support for specialized research seems decisive. In the end, I hope the president can create an environment where the best outcomes can be achieved in each field of education and research.
Chairman of Labor Union Jeong-gyu Lee
With the decline of student population, financial pressures, changes in the educational environment, and COVID-19, Sookmyung is facing a dangerous situation. Due to the nature of being a corporate body, Sookmyung Women’s University must achieve innovation and reform. Therefore, all members of Sookmyung must come together to determine and innovate our future. I am very happy and fortunate to have been able to participate in the historic 20th presidential election of Sookmyung in June 2020. I believe that this election has united all members of Sookmyung in one voice for the future of Sookmyung. If everyone come together and overcome the difficulties with the elected president, I believe Sookmyung Women’s University can “turn this crisis into opportunity” and create a brighter future. I hope that the 20th president-elect will look at and review the commitments of other candidates, the voting intentions of the electoral process, and public opinion, and use them as an opportunity to complement her commitments. As the 20th president has been elected by the participation of all members, I hope everyone can work together in unison and support our elected leader.
Student Body President Ji-hye Lim
As a result of last year's long struggle, the board of directors announced the convening of the TF to improve the system of electing presidents, and the 52nd Student Body also came up with an agreement for the student-participated direct election system. As a result, the involvement of students in the election of the president was finally enacted. I felt the importance of student body once again because I was able to reflect the voices of the students by achieving 45% of the student turnout amid such difficult times. Participation of students in decision-making structure and reflection of students’ opinions should continue to be guaranteed as not just members but as voters. Through this election, the students came together and showed their desire, willingness, and the flow of our times toward a democratic Sookmyung. The 20th presidential election successfully came to a close, but the Student Body will continue to do its best because there is more work to be done for a better democratic presidential system.
Alumni President Jong-hui Kim
Despite the heat and grievous atmosphere due to COVID-19, our colleagues, friends, and alumni who personally came to participate in the historic election showed amazing interest and enthusiasm. There were some shortcomings because of the short preparation period and inexperience, but through communication and harmony, I hope that this can become a good lesson for us to further develop our alma mater and alumni association. In addition, there were many invaluable policies that the four presidential candidates and alumni professors have announced based on years of research and contemplation. I hope the new president can accept them as kind advice rather than laying them to waste so that we can build a better Sookmyung together.