|▲ The Katalk transcript of the pep rally messenger board includes mild threats to the unparticipating freshmen.|
On March 17, a Facebook status on the Bamboo Grove about the College of Engineering’s pep rally invoked a heated debate among Sogangers. An anonymous whistleblower had uploaded a snapshot of a group Katalk conversation where the cheer captain sent a message implying that non-attendees of the pep rally would suffer a disadvantage. That same day, the captain uploaded a written apology for his oppressive remark. The president of the College of Engineering’s Student Council also issued an apology statement.
In an interview with The Sogang Herald, an anonymous freshman of the Department of Electronic Engineering commented that Park had emphasized the importance of the pep rally ever since the matriculation ceremony, and imparted a sense of unanimous participation among students. Most of the freshmen had only recently graduated from high school and thus were rather lacking in sensitivity about such matters; at first more than a hundred students voted to attend. Yet many students skipped practice as there was a general air of apathy. “Such is the context,” the interviewee remarked. “Park was simply emotional due to the poor attendance - it wasn’t overdisciplining.”
Another freshman, Park Jun-yong (16, Dept. of Electronic Engineering) has informed the Herald that Park Ju-seok approached the first-year students as friends and did not at all lord over the first-years. The interviewee expressed discomfort about the whistleblower, saying that he “tarnished Sogang’s public image, not to mention that of the Dept. of Electronic Engineering, by spreading an issue that could have been resolved personally.” He also commented that uploading such a story on a public space was unwise. He finished by remarking he would prefer the affair to be smoothed over now that written apologies have been issued.
|▲ Ricci Hall is the main building of the Engineering Department. ©Sogang University|
Meanwhile, Kim Dong-yeon (14, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), the student president of the College of Engineering, told The Herald that the student council has taken measures to prevent such mishaps, such as abolishing the traditional “diss-fight”, adding “praise relay”, and understating participation points to prohibit excessive competition. He stated that the cheer captain’s words seem to be a mistake from the overheated competition between different departments. In response to Park Jun-yong’s comment, Kim replied that he could sympathize with the freshman’s opinion but that the publicizing was in no way something to be blamed, as it helped everyone realize the problematic situation. He likened the episode to the festering and healing of a wound, a kind of self-purification. He went on to say that this incident could have happened during any event requiring active participation, and that from now on such occasions would be more considerate and enjoyable for everyone due to the affair.
The Sogang Herald also interviewed the cheer captain in question, Park Ju-seok (15, Dept. of Electronic Engineering) who explained the context of his Kakaotalk message. Apparently the participation rate had steadily dropped after the first practice, thus he felt the need to emphasize the importance of attendance, since if a lot of students failed to turn up the agenda would be set back. Park admitted that his choice of words was improper, and told us that all the departments regret the mistake and are working to make the pep rally a nonviolent, unoppressive celebration in which all the students will be able to harmonize.