South Korean Human Rights Monitor


Hall of Human Rights Abuse at SNU

Sang Kyul Park October 20, 2012

On the 10th of October, the human rights center of Seoul National University(SNU) held a symposium whose subject was ‘Where is the human rights of SNU?’. In the symposium, the result of the research on human rights was announced. Three thousands of the undergraduate and postgraduate students, professors and staff participated in the research.  According to the survey, 30 percent of postgraduate students could not do their work because of the excessive task by the professor. They also responded that the professors treated them unfairly.

About one third of the respondents said that they could not concentrate on their research or study because of the excessive amount of the project and task which are instructed by the professors. Some students answered that they are ordered to misuse the research fund for the private task of the professor and to write the dissertation. The important journals are written by the professor, but the journal that is for the filling out the research record are written by the postgraduate students. According to the survey, 27.8 percent responded that they are not paid enough for their labor. One respondent said that each student is given 10 million Won(about 9 thousand U.S. Dollars) as the personal expense in his own name, but some professors pay partially to the student. Even if the personal expense is given to the student, the professor is the one who manages the account of the personal expenses of the students. As a result, the students could not know what the professor use the personal expense for.

In the graduate school, the postgraduate students and the professors should have a close relationship. To receive a master’s degree, the students have to do what the professors tell them to do. According to the research, 11.1 percent of the postgraduate students responded that the professors instructed to handle their private matters. For example, some students went to the house of the professor and fed the dog after he left for a business trip. Some also blew the balloons at the birthday party of the professor’s son and reserve the plane ticket for his wife. The professors treated their students as their ‘personal secretary’.

Ten to thirty percent responded that they were the victims of violence, being  treated unfairly and in some cases sexually harassed. The violence includes beating, bullying, the verbally abusing, swearing and forcing them to drink. Some were treated unfairly due to gender, look, age and the universities where they completed their undergraduate degree. About 20 percent said that they have heard the words that are sexually depreciating. “The ladies devalue as they get older, so, they should marry when they are young.” and “The ladies could not become great as they are not smart even if they study hard” were examples of comments made by professors.

After the result of the research was announced, the public were astonished as the reality of the human rights of the ‘Hall of Intelligence’ was serious. Some professors did not like the articles written by the press. They explained that there were some misunderstandings of the situation and some students who have a grudge against the professors. However, the postgraduate students were different. They said that the relationship between the professor and the student would never change.


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