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Evading Responsibility
Hong Young-ki  |  ghddudrl@hanyang.ac.kr
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[328호] 승인 2015.12.01  
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On November 5 , 2015 , Lee Sung-ho and Heo Ji-woong, one of the two running candidate pairs for the General Student Association(GSA) election of 2016, were disqualified according to a notice by the Central Election Management Committee(CEMC) at Hanyang University(HYU) at the ERICA Campus. The notice said that Lee could not participate in the election as department student presidents cannot run for GSA presidency and Lee’s resignation as the president of his department had not been processed in time. In response, Lee and Heo expressed their opposition in a post on Facebook to what they viewed as an unreasonable notification. They also posted hand-written posters on all the buildings at the ERICA Campus. The election body, CEMC, consists of student presidents from individual colleges at ERICA with the GSA president and vice-president elected at the top. The purpose of CEMC is to establish adequate standards to achieve fair elections through a transparent voting process. This latest issue has unveiled the failure of CEMC to act as a transparent and responsible governing body for Hanyangians.


The Background of the Story

The opposition team to Lee and Heo requested a one-sided reexamination of Lee’s qualifications as the GSA president. Accepting this request, CEMC unilaterally decided that Lee was no longer eligible for GSA candidacy. This was because his resignation from the post of department student president had not been approved by the vice-president’s seal. Bang Yong-h o , disputed this decision, pointing out the ambiguity of the interpretation of electoral regulations - specifically Section 5 which says that, “To qualify for candidacy in a GSA election, those who belong to CEMC or the Student Association must resign from their positions in advance with the approval of the president is resigning, the vice president must give approval.” However, this can be interpreted in two ways. The first is that the vice-president has to approve the resignation on behalf of the president. Due to such ambiguous conditions, Lee did not believe he was required to obtain the seal of approval for his resignation.


The Stance of CEMC

CEMC maintains that the disqualification was just as seven out of its nine members agreed that Lee has no right to run for the election. CEMC also argues that it is unreasonable for Lee to claim that Section 5’s terms are ambiguous. It claimed that Lee, as a member of CEMC, should have known firsthand that Section 5 requires a sealed approval. They also pointed out discussions had been made in the past to specify the terms, where Lee was present. Furthermore, the vice-president from the College of Science and Technology said Lee ignored her when she explicitly told him that he must get the approval seal from her in advance. Also, according to CEMC, although Lee sought advice from the Head of CEMC before the process of resignation, the Head gave him his personal opinion as an individual, and that his comments should not have been taken as general truth or official policy.

The Opinions of the Lee and Heo Election Headquarters
Lee and Heo continue to argue that the Section 5 can be interpreted as “the vice-president has to approve the resignation on behalf of the president.” A number of professors from the Department of Korean Language and Literature at ERICA Campus have shown their support for Lee and Heo, saying the Section was open to different interpretations. Lee and Heo said, “We just want to know there as on why CEMC refuses to listen to our view on the ambiguity of regulation Section 5. It is unreasonable for CEMC to disqualify us without considering our side of the story.” Lee Young-hee, the Bachelor of Korean Language and Literature, said and added, “It is not common for the president to be required to get a seal of approval from the vice-president who is in a subordinate position. It is more reasonable to assume that such an approval would need to be obtained from a higher authority.” Furthermore , Lee and Heo have criticized the CEMC’s lack of consistency. According to Lee, the Head of CEMC had told him that a seal was not mandatory. However, CEMC claims that the statement was not an official statement but a personal opinion to Lee’s question. This excuse, to many Hanyangians, appears contradictory as CEMC announced on Facebook that the Head of CEMC should be consulted regarding any electoral issues. However, CEMC considers the confirmation given by its Head as an unofficial response. This statement shows that their argument is full of contradictions.
Lack of Communication Between CEMC and Hanyangians
This incident is actually not the first time that a dispute broke out over Section 5. Last year, one of the running candidates for GSA was disqualified for the same reason. The repetition of the problem indicates that CEMC has not made proper efforts to communicate with Hanyangians to resolve this matter and they are refusing to admit their obvious mistakes. Kim Sang-jean, a Professor from the Department of Korean Language and Literature at HYU, said, “Although many Hanyangians have raised their voices against CEMC regarding this matter, CEMC has not provided clear reasons for the disqualification. Failing to communicate with their fellow Hanyangians and deliberately skirting the issue resembles what politicians are doing these days. It is important for young people, especially in leading roles, to accept their mistakes and apologize for their unreasonable behavior for the sake of clean and fair elections. This will ultimately lead to greater public trust by Hanyangians.” 



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