Sogang University has met with strong resistance from both professors and students alike after it unveiled a sweeping reorganization plan that includes a merger of departments.
According to Sogang University president Yoo Ki-pung, the reorganization plan aims to bolster the school’s competitive edge by channeling funds to select areas, and is not designed to abolish certain humanities and social science divisions.
Professors and students of the School of Humanities and International Cultures expressed strong opposition to the plan. Fifty-six professors involved said in a statement that various departments are about to be merged in the name of “survival” and “efficiency.”
Under the tentative plan, Japanese culture majors might find their department reduced to a mere interdisciplinary program, they argued.
The student council representing the humanities majors wrote a letter of protest: “Sogang University might lose its identity, which is rooted in history and a reputed academic tradition, by seeking desperately to secure external funds.”
“I believe this controversy is largely due to the structural problem of our society viewing university as a stepping stone to find employment,” said Yuk Ari, a senior in the university’s history department.
Sogang University says it would hold a forum to collect various opinions and review the plan for one year before putting out a final version.
By Yoon Ha-youn, intern reporter