Last December 20th, Sogang University’s Club Association Emergency Committee (CAEC) posted an announcement on their Facebook page, saying “Emmaus Hall’s room B108, which has been used as the Club Association’s meeting room, will now be occupied by the Female Student Council.” However, on that same day, an anonymous posting was uploaded on Sogang University’s Bamboo Grove, protesting this; “How can the CAEC make this kind of decision without any prior discussion with the clubs belonging to the Association, when it is not even an organization elected into office by students?” This posting received hearty approval and support from many students who had been dissatisfied with the Club Association. Some comments read, “No matter how good the purpose is, the CAEC should have collected the opinions of affiliated clubs beforehand,” or “I wish the Club Association would please think of the clubs in the Association first.” Although a Whole Clubs’ Delegate Assembly (WCDA) was convened with an agenda regarding the Emergency Committee, it was adjourned due to want of a quorum, leaving a lot of dissatisfactions unresolved.
The allocation of Emmaus hall rooms is quite a sensitive matter with clubs in the Club Association. As such, the decision of the CAEC to transfer the use of room B108 for the Female Student Council was criticized by many clubs that had waited a long time to enter Emmaus. Since the space is limited, only clubs scoring high in the activity evaluation have official club rooms in the hall. As a result, the underachieving clubs must try very hard for high scores if they want to be assigned a room. Otherwise these roomless clubs will find it difficult to keep on recruiting new members or even running the club itself. Of course, the Club Association can hardly be blamed for the school’s limited space. However, since the allocation of rooms in Emmaus Hall is up to the Club Association through evaluation, it is a matter of course for club members to doubt this process. The Emmaus Hall is a building for all the clubs belonged to Club Association, so if Club Association wants to change the use of B108, there must have been consensus of the members. Hong Ji-soo(14, Art & Technology), the president of the Club Association explained, “The Female Student Council discussed the need for space for activity with the Office of Student Affiars and as an alternative, the Female Student Council suggested a way of sharing the B108. Eventhough we were suffering the lack of space, we decided to share, not provide, the room for the development of student self-governing society. However, the allocation of rooms is just a tip of the iceberg compared to all the complaints cumulated from affiliated clubs in the Club Association. First of all, the problem of unfairness and unclear process regarding club activity evaluation is one that has been continuously raised by members. The Sogang Herald conducted an interview with an anonymous club member from the physical activity division, who stated, “When I attended the WCDA last autumn, I pointed out the vague standard of the evaluation process, which decides the activity subsidies according to the club levels.” However, the answer he received from the Association was completely beside the point; “The evaluation process is based on a relativity scale, so we cannot help it if other clubs did better.” This is not the only problem. At this same assembly, another of the agendas regarded the situation where Shock (Sogang University’s dance club) members claimed exclusive use of the central mirror in Emmaus Hall without receiving sufficient agreement from other clubs. However, several executive members from the Club Association were wearing jackets that represented membership of Shock. This anonymous Soganger commented, “Although this assembly should have been a serious occasion, as agendas able to influence group interests among different clubs were to be discussed, the president of the Club Association, made other clubs experience relative deprivation, as she smiled with the executives from Shock.”
Difficult situations of Club Association
With many complaints about the Club Association being evident, it is up to the next president of the association to collect and resolve them. However, the 2016 Club Association election to organize 2017 Club Association student council was canceled due to lack of candidates. The Club Association holds many rights that can influence club activities in Sogang, but at the same time that much more responsibilities follow. First of all, the Club Association participates in the running of many school events. The freshman orientation, which is one of the biggest events of the year in Sogang, street club promotions, the spring festival, the Sogang culture festival are the events run by the Club Association, or at least ones deeply engaged with it. In order to fund these events, the president and vice president of the association must cough up the executive scholarships they receive. Furthermore, if any accidents or problems occur during these events, the responsibility lies with the Club Association. Besides these events, the executives of the Club Association must mediate conflicts between clubs. Since there are many clubs of similar nature, especially those in the performing arts division, they compete for better performance during festivals. During the mediating process, the Club Association bears the brunt of blame from all sides in most cases. Moreover, the president of Club Association, as a representative of the 70 clubs in Sogang, must attend the Central Operating Student Committee (COSC) and have affirmed rights for voting. The president also has the responsibility to look out for the interests of all the clubs. For example, in this winter, the CAEC had several meetings with the president of the Office of Planning, the Office of Property and Facilities, and with Park Jong-gu, the newly appointed president of Sogang University (for information on the suspicious presidential election, turn to the Cover Story on page ) in order to solve the chronic leak problem in Emmaus Hall.
The Future of the Club Association
Although the Club Association election was canceled last year, one election camp consisting of two candidates did register for the by-election this March. Considering there is only one election camp, and the Club Association system which makes it impossible for the club activity evaluation to progress without an association student council, it seems highly likely that this election camp will be elected. As the name of this election camp is “Rebuilding Trust; Bon(本)”, the Club Association electoral college from the 70 affiliated clubs will expect the new council to rebuild their trust in collecting agendas and solving cumulated complaints. While the Club Association student council is extremely influential to member clubs, this influence is preceded by numerous responsibilities. As the famous saying goes, “One who wants to wear the crown should bear the crown.” High hopes rest on Bon, the Club Association of the future to restore trust from club constituents.