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Seoul National University`s nomination of its president

Posted July. 16, 2014 05:11,   


Seoul National University elected its new president via indirect election system last month but faced internal disaccord, as a result of which it decided to improve regulations for nomination of the next president. Earlier, the school`s president recommendation committee composed by faculty had recommended Professor Oh Se-jung of the Department of Physics and Astronomy as top candidate. However, the board of directors chose Professor Sung Nak-in of Law School, who was second candidate, facing resistance by the university`s advisory council and professor council.

There was no flaw in the president nomination process itself. According to the school`s articles of association, the president recommendation committee can recommend three candidates to the board of directors, which can nominate one of them. It is not an attitude of a man of intellect to oppose to the board just because it didn`t select the candidate recommended as the first candidate by the council.

Professor Oh accepted Professor Sung`s election, helping resolve the matter. Yet the current structure, which the board of directors where the incumbent president yields huge influence, should be improved. The board is comprised of 15 members, including official directors, the president, and two vice presidents designated by the president. Current President Oh Yeon-cheon is also chairman of the board. The articles of association doesn`t stipulate that the president cannot be chairman of the board, but the organization`s current operation is vulnerable to outside criticism.

The school`s president nomination regulation should be improved in a way that prevents a retreat to direct election or an indirect one, which is almost equal to direct election. Though stipulated in its articles of the association, the current nomination system restricts the authority of the board of directors by selecting one from three candidates recommended by the president recommendation committee. The committee even strengthened direct election factors by adding faculty representatives’ policy assessment, which is not stipulated in the articles of the association. However, direct election system alone can`t prevent factionalism or populism among professors. One of conditions to incorporate Seoul National University was indirect election to promote strong reform. To embrace support by all university constituents, the university should discuss president nomination regulations. Any creation of system should come remembering that the school should leap into the world`s top universities.