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What do you think of no alcohol on campus?

It was this summer when a newspaper agency ran a special feature on the drinking culture of Korea that people started to voice their thoughts on the matter.

Not long after that, the Ministry of Health and Welfare proposed the pre-announcement of legislation on smoking and drinking, including compulsory display of alarming pictures on cigarette boxes and restricting the places where alcohol could be advertised.

However, criticism started to fly, especially among university students. Under Article 43 in the announcement, it states that alcohol sales and consumption would be banned inside public facilities, including university campuses and hospitals.

If the revised plan passes the National Assembly, it will be implemented from next April.

The details of the announcement state that the changes are made to prevent minors from drinking and social problems caused by alcohol. Rather inadvertently, some time after the pre-announcement of the revised bill, on Sept. 24, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies proposed a “Declaration of Improved Drinking Culture” which bans “ju-jeom,” liquor outlets run by university students on campus during school festivals.

More than half of the HUFS students agreed with the school, but many students criticized the school for hastily making a rule to follow the ministry’s decision.

The school believes that jujeom have been causing constant noise and increasing the amount of trash around campus. Those studying in the library and living in the dormitory had to suffer greatly from the noise.

But the declaration to ban the school alcohol sales showed the lack of communication between the students and school, which led to a great conflict and dispute inside HUFS.

Now, a question arises. Though the ban at HUFS is on jujeom and the ministry’s pre-announcement is on alcohol consumption on campus, is it really different?

The government offered many examples of alcohol bans in other countries to back up their decision. However, if they really cared, they should have also considered the special university culture in Korea and reflected the opinion of university students. The sudden proposal from the ministry only leads to criticism such as that the government is trying to control even where people drink. Just because other countries have done something does not mean we should follow suit.

The pre-announcement of legislation from the ministry is for a healthier drinking culture in Korea. However, before limiting every public place for an easy way to reduce trouble, we should consider the characteristics of each place and those who will directly be affected.
Jo He-rim
Jo He-rim

By Jo He-rim

Jo He-rim is a second-year English linguistics student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and a reporter for The Argus, the English magazine of HUFS. ―Ed.