he General Female StudentAssociation(GFSA) has runinto a lot of criticism fromHanyang University(HYU)students recently. The main criticism is thata barbeque party was held for female students- a party sponsored with student fees.“What is the real purpose of having afemale student association? For females tospend time with other females? I am veryangry about the pledges of this group,including the barbeque party,” said SongJeong-kyu, a junior major in NuclearEngineering.In 2004, the GFSA was reorganized byclub Dalssogang. The club’s mission was topursue female rights HYU. Although fiveyears have passed since its first appearance,there are still a lot of controversies surroundingthe reason for the club’s existence.Some students do not accept the club’snecessity and question its role.This debate is a frequent occurrence.For example, in 2002, HYU held a forum todecide whether to reorganize a GFSA ornot, but GFSA did not change (OhmynewsNovember 8, 2002). Before that forum astudent survey showed students had a negativeopinion of the Dalssogang club.“I agree that the role of GFSA leavesmuch to be desired. We are in a period oftransition,” said Yang Hee-seok, the 12thpresident of GFSA, who led the reorganization.But was the club really reorganized?
Unsettled GFSA at HYU
Only 56.6 percent of femaleHanyangians went to the polls for the 12thGFSA’s election. This is a poor numericalvalue in that the vote should exceed 50 percentto acknowledge the student representative.Especially the College of Medicine’spercent of the election stopped at a mere40.2 percent and the College of Engineeringat 44.2 percent - information from HanyangUniversity Broadcasting Stations.Another example is that the surveyshows students’ indifference of GFSA.Two examples show the students indifferenceor criticism about GFSA. TheOffice of Student Affairs(OSA) also has anegative view of GFSA. “OSA has a negativeview of GFSA’s financial decisions,which we do not support. For example, theoffice of the 12th GFSA is located at theplace hard to search,” said Yang.“There is controversy over the specialmonthly leave for women. This isunfair and goes against school regulation,”said Lee Yoo-sil, the 16th presidentof GFSA.
Reason for GFSA’s Failure
Not only are university members confusedon the female general office’s role,but so are the GFSA members. Many studentsare misinformed on GFSA and eventhink it is part of the General StudentAssociation(GSA). “It seems like part ofGSA. Because when I visited the Hanyanghomepage I could find its office phonenumber. I could find it with the HYUMagazine of the Seoul Campus(HUMSC)as a part of the GSA,” said Song. However,the GFSA president nervously explained,“Our club has a special role. But it is not apart of the GSA.”The representation of woman is weak atHYU because there are more males whoapply to the Colleges of Engineering.“When the association of HYU was reorganized,Female Office of Student Affairs disappearedin university but anybody are notprotest or question about that part. Samereaction can be seen at the case of deletionof lecture about women’s study. Theseshows reality of woman our university,”said Noh Young-joo, a researcher of educationin Center for Gender Equality.Shortage of working students for associationis also big problem. Only fourmembers lead GFSA. It is too small in thatit represents about 5,000 female students atHYU. It is compared to GSA. It can hearmuch news from various College StudentAssociations as representatives of 1,500university students. The student presidentof GFSA said, “Well, I think that it is notsomething that must be done. But Iacknowledge that matter. We should makean effort to improve that matter.”
Necessity of GFSA
The purpose of setting up GFSA is afemale student’s welfare, trivial ones tolarge scale things. From this point of view,although there is something to be desired,pledges of GFSA have advanced step bystep.“The problem is the lack of understandingof male students of GFSA.Thinking about one of their famous events,the barbeque party, many male universitystudents questioned why only female studentscan enjoy partying with their studentfees. But GSA has the similar pledges likedistributing toast, barbeque party. And thatmeat is not expensive. So there is not muchloss of money,” said Kwon Joong-do, studentpresident of GSA at HYU.“The 16th GFSA’s motto is sympathy.Pledges are not important for them. So it ishasty to assert that the barbeque party wasillegitimate. The problem is changing thelack of understanding of male students ofGFSA,” said Lee.A barbeque party is a very trivial thingin many pledges. So students insisting abolitionof GFSA only by this thing could beseen as a man of quick temper.“Our social voluntary services doneduring the last winter semester is the forumwith hearing the men’s dissatisfaction it isreally trivial things. Like why people takefor granted that man should use money, seeoff girlfriend to her home. In this point ofview, I think the feeling of being victimizedby men is a little bit excessive. This couldbe the main reason for thinking of the abolitionof GFSA at HYU,” said Noh.Yang Hee-seok, student ex-presidentthinks this reason as a social problem.“Look at the atmosphere of university thesedays, clubs and student associations.Activity in their department are generallydepressed, comparing 1970~80s. We canfind the reason of this at the percentage ofunemployment, individualism, arrivingdemocracy. The problem that activity isextremely dull is not limited to GFSA. Soinsisting abolition of GFSA by only feelingthat the movement of GFSA is very dull isvery hasty thing.”
Desirable Change of GFSA
HYU is sometimes called “HanyangMen’s University”. Women are weak atHYU because there are more men thanwomen at the university. It would be maintainedchangelessly for the foreseeablefuture. So to prevent a disturbing questionabout the necessity of GFSA more femalerepresentation is needed.“If female professors, GFSA, Center forGender Equality and other many associationsof HYU cooperate in policy, it wouldbe a more efficient to propose policies to theuniversity for welfare of female,” said Noh.Lots of effort by the GFSA are neededto change university students’ opinions.Having a forum for the club could be agood method. Some representatives of students,members of GFSA and GSA, variouspress reporters gather and debate manythings, in public, and staff of a school. Itcould be a meaningful time to share opinionsand resolve this misunderstanding.“I have had that thought, it would be agood mean, we would put that project inmotion,” said president of GFSA. “We alsohave the intention to help this project. Ithink there was a short of effort about thisproblem,” said Kwon.It is certain that GFSA is necessary forHYU. The matter thing is that remove thevarious misunderstanding. And changemany immature things. It is very hopefulthat if the pledges like barbeque partyappear in the future, HYU’s internet bulletinboard would be in favor of the clubsimply modifying its pledges rather thanabolishing the GFSA altogether.