As many students would know, there was a big dispute in the Student Council election last year. Many people, including the parties concerned, proposed the loopholes of the election bylaws as the reason of that dispute. Because of this reason, the necessity of revision was brought up. This January 2016, The Bylaws Revision Committee in Sogang University was established and the committee is currently at work. They are trying to revise the bylaws as a whole due to the excessive amount of loopholes presented. In July 29, there is a Junhakdeahawi. Amendment plan approved by the committee will be on the agenda. Then, what bylaws are subject to change? What will be the result of that? There are three revisions closely related with Sogangers.
First, the range of the members and their rights are subject to the revision.
[The council members are Sogang University's undergraduate students.]
[But, in the case that a student on a leave of absence pays dues and declares its own membership, he or she is admitted to be a council member.]
There has been a controversy on whether the qualification of membership should be given to students on a leave of absence along with exchange students. They are not members according to the present bylaw but enjoying the actual benefits.
[The members are obliged to pay dues.]
The above two groups don't pay dues. Accordingly, the problem of equity has arisen.
One solution for this issue was the ‘regular member-associate member’ system, which divides members under the certain criteria. This system is inevitably against the preamble ' All members have same rights.' Therefore it was rejected. In a recent meeting, new bylaws below were added, which are shown below.
Article3. Clause 4
[Students on a leave of absence and exchange students who do not pay dues can exercise 5 and 6 clauses of article 5 restrictively.]
Article5. Clause 5
[The members have the right to participate in council's self-governing activity.]
Article5. Clause 6
[The members have the right to participate in businesses and events run by the council.]
Instead of paying dues, limited rights have been given. Because it does not violate the preamble and prevents alienating students on a leave of absence and exchange students, it seems nice. But it is necessary to define the exact scope of participation in the bylaws. Also, the classification of activities in the Student Council that is needed when practicing the Article5. Clause6 should be conducted. Chairman of the Committee Han Kyu-pil (14, Mass Communication) said "It is important to stipulate 'tacit' activities by non-members." Although the range of members has not changed, its original aim is accomplished to some degree.
Next, there are the bylaws important for the future candidates and the press. During the election campaign, promotional materials such as leaflets, printouts and posters are almost everywhere. Under the existing bylaws, candidates should consider the size of that materials as well as the amount of each form. However, there were two problems. To begin with, deciding which categories the materials can be classified as was difficult. And limiting the size could hinder the autonomy of the candidates. So, the committee revised the bylaw, fixing the number of promotional materials to five. Han said, "This will lighten the Election Committee's burden pertaining to promotional materials."
Until now, the press couldn't function as it supposed to. According to bylaws, there was no specified right or duty of the press. It is so peculiar that the press has not had relationship with elections. So, the need for changing this wrong situation has aroused. Concrete revisions have not been made yet, but the committee's direction is set to some degree. "The role of the press may be offering the candidates’ information and interview related to elections," commented by Han. But wider range of roles for press seems to be needed. For example, evaluating and criticizing the pledges of the candidates will attract the students' attention to the elections. It is true that university students have little interests regarding students' election. It is also hard to find the information on the candidates, unlike the national elections. With the power of press, the Student Council can think of the way to break down this public indifference. To increase accessibility for elections and remove the apathy toward students' activities, press must be able to play a variety of roles.
There is a 'Preliminary Candidate System'(PCS) in many countries. There are many advantages of this system, but the most important one is promoting the novice candidates. This kind of system does not currently exist in Sogang University, but from this year's Student Council election, this system may come on the scene.
Although it will not be implemented in the exact same way in student society owing to its traits, this PCS system itself has many good points. First, electorates can be informed about the candidates well. In former elections, there was no way to get information about who the candidates were. But with PCS, voters can ponder upon the candidates and make their meaningful votes prior to the election. There will be fewer conflicts on pre-election campaigns. There have been controversies on whether certain actions are illegal election campaign (as to the permitted period of campaign) for many times. If PCS comes into force and Election Commission sets the method of campaign, it would be much more definite than before. Plus, the standard number of references becomes lower. If Junhakdeahawi passes PCS, in the upcoming election, those who want to run for president or other positions can have a reasonable cause for demanding references for people. And with reduced number of references, the barrier of candidacy will be much lower, which is consistent with the general belief that eligibility for election should be guaranteed for all.
Surely, there are probable drawbacks. In national elections, PCS has caused the 'random candidacy' and numerous 'Only for self-advertisement', which means ‘crowded with candidates, especially indicating improper candidates’ and ‘using elections as a way of publicizing themselves for other purposes’ respectively. "Those problems will not be that serious," Han said. "Student society is so small that people cannot easily conduct those acts. If so, from the view of "liberty of becoming a candidate" I think it is not that bad."
As PCS is to be born, enrolling a preliminary candidate will be a prerequisite for running the election. However, the ways to publicize themselves are poor. There is no specific method to promote in revised bylaws. According to the committee, possible methods like distributing the candidates' card will be made. However, it seems to be relatively weak. Students in Sogang cannot get enough information only with cards. Alliance with the press or using SNS (Social Network Service) can be more practical alternatives. Therefore, relating bylaws need to be specified, or one of the PCS system's proper advantages will be no use.
Even at this moment in time, Bylaws Revision Committee is still striving to make better bylaws. Junhakdeahawi is one month away. Their final revised plan will be the base of Sogangers' activities for the next ten years or more. "All our efforts intend to prevent problems in campus activities, including the elections." Han said, with firm will on his face. Also, all Sogangers should have consciousness of the owners of the school. Despite the harsh situations students face today, our interest is the weapon for promoting our welfare. All members of the Student Council must strive to attract much more interest and participation of Sogangers. It is another form of environment where 'democracy' needs. As the leading actors, Sogangers should pay attention to the transition of the bylaws. How about wishing for the best revision and keeping our eyes on Junhakdeahawi?