THIS YEAR’S Yonsei freshmen had a rather tough start. Due to systematic matters, the English examination results of some freshmen were not successfully saved, and those Yonseians had to retake the test. Many freshmen expressed their irritation over this situation. Ahn Yu-seon (Fresh., Dept. of Sociology) mentioned that taking the test once was hard enough, but when he heard that he had to retake it, he felt somewhat vexed. Though this was the first time English exams were lost, systematic errors as well as other administrative problems have existed for some time at Yonsei. These administrative errors should not be overlooked however, since they could directly affect students to a great extent.
Re-test sparks much discontent with Yonsei’s administration system
Systematic errors have always been a longstanding cause of much discontent to many Yonseians. However, the testing issues, as well as errors in the course registration system of freshmen that arose near the start of this year have sparked some heated discussions and provided a start-off point to much criticism.
According to an official in charge of the English examination, the problem occurred because a newly launched security program was installed in several of the PCs on which incoming freshmen took their exams, and the new program prohibited test results from being saved. To prevent anything from going wrong, a mock test is annually conducted prior to the actual English examination, but the new security program was installed after the mock test had been successfully completed. The officials who installed the new program did not anticipate that it would clash with the English examination, though it unfortunately did. Since the start of the freshmen’s English examination policy, this is the first year that Yonsei changed the security program of its PCs – therefore, the official claimed, such a mistake never happened before, and will not happen again.
Although new safety measures will be adopted to prevent such a situation from reoccurring, the mistake made by the administration inflicted much undue pressure on students like Ahn, who had felt pressured enough with having to take an English exam once. Furthermore, the re-examination dates overlapped with the freshmen orientation dates of several departments, compelling some students to readjust their schedules. As this issue, along with the freshmen’s course registration issue, came up even before freshmen officially became Yonseians, the majority of freshmen were snowed under by much dissatisfaction and disappointment in Yonsei from the very beginning.
Inadequate notification methods for change in course information
Albeit this year seemed to have started off with more administrative issues than usual, this was not the first time that Yonsei was responsible for faults in its administrative system. Last year, there were many complaints regarding the change in professors of certain mandatory freshmen courses after the course registration was finished, because the school did not officially announce the changes. According to a survey conducted by The Yonsei Chunchu in 2013, 26.5% of students who responded that they were unsatisfied with course registration system actually referred to this issue as one of the key factors for dissatisfaction toward Yonsei’s administrative system.
Regarding the alterations of not only professors but also class periods, the Office of Academic Affairs does not provide individual notifications; instead, while all other course information on the portal website is written in black, blue letters identify where changes have been made. However, such means are seen as rather insufficient and also inconvenient for students. Students must access the university portal and check every now and then if there are any ‘blue letters’ concerning information about the course they enrolled in. When considering that students may have to look over multiple course syllabuses and choose an alternative class due to a change made in the class they already registered for, being notified of the changes can be critical to many students.
Meanwhile, the Office of Academic Affairs maintains a firm stance that it cannot do more than notify the students of course change through the original means on the university portal. As changes in courses are due to matters that occurred from individual departments, they cannot be dealt with by the central administration - the individual departments are in charge of notifying students via text messages or other means. The school stressed that they “instruct the individual departments to handle the matter well so that students will not be dissatisfied.” Regardless, the truth is that under the current system, notification methods are inconsistent, and a great proportion of students still remain discontent.
Unsatisfactory dormitory administration
The survey by The Yonsei Chunchu mentioned above also suggests that there were many complaints about dormitory administrative services. In fact, a great majority of respondents chose dormitory services as the main source of discomfort of the Yonsei administration. As administrative issues on dormitories are directly involved in a student’s life on campus, dormitory service enhancement could be seen as a crucial issue for students’ welfare.
Administrative issues regarding dormitories tend to consist of small issues and mistakes from the administration that may not seem very important, but indeed are sources of substantial frustration to dormitory residents. An anonymous student mentioned her experience as a freshman at the Yonsei International Campus (YIC), when she had lost her student ID and registered for a temporary entrance card. Whereas registering for a temporary card is usually a simple procedure, she had to make four or five trips to the administration office before she could finally get into her own dorm room, because the temporary cards she received did not work properly. The low quality of service is also an issue. Lee Jin-woo (Soph., Dept. of English Language & Lit.), who is currently living at the YIC dormitory, complained of the hostile response to a serious mistake the administration had made. Lee said that he was charged a higher amount for his dormitory fees, which concerned this semester plus a week during winter vacation when he stayed at the dormitory - but according to Lee, his demand for correction met with an irritable consent rather than a sincere apology, which he felt he deserved.
“The official in charge of dormitory fees asserted that as I had lived alone for a week in a room that was originally for multiple people, it was actually reasonable that I was charged an additional fee,” accounted Lee. However, Lee added, it was not his choice that other roommates did not stay during vacation. Considering these circumstances, it does seem rather unreasonable that students should be charged an additional fee for a privilege that was not a result of their own choice. Charging students an undue additional fee itself is also questionable, as there has not been any prior notice on additional charges to students residing alone. Such attitudes of officials who insisted that the dormitory fees were rightfully charged seemed to have provoked outrage in many, including Lee.
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Yonsei’s administration system has a long way to go if it aims to provide the adequate convenience for students and appropriately meet their needs. Though petty these issues may seem to some, the fact remains that these small but fundamental matters are directly linked to the students’ satisfaction with Yonsei itself. If the school cannot receive support from its own students in the most fundamental and basic aspects, then from whom could it possibly do so?