|▲ How will student membership fees be used in 2020?
A lot of changes have happened in CWNU because of COVID-19. Most major events like Freshman Orientation, Retreat, and Sports Day were canceled. All first semester classes are now conducted remotely. Since the school events and activities were cancelled due to COVID-19, there is no use for the student membership fees. Usually, student membership fees are freely paid along with tuition fees. Following that, student membership fees are distributed to each college based on the number of students enrolled. Since most events are canceled due to COVID-19, students have a lot of questions about how the student membership fees will be used in 2020. Interviews with the presidents of each college and department reveal plans on how student membership fees will be spent.
The president of the College of Humanities said, ”Before COVID-19, student membership fees would go towards college festivals, freshmen orientation, and snack events in the examination period. If face-to-face classes start again in the second semester, we will try to have additional events to make up for the canceled events in the first semester. Also, by using student membership fees from the first semester, second semester student welfare and events will be of a high-quality. We want to express consolation to students who are going through a difficult time.”
The president of the College of Natural Science said similarly, “Prior to COVID-19 membership fees were supposed to be used for events for all of the students in the College of Natural Science. If regular classes start again in the second semester, we will proceed with the events planned for the first semester in the second semester. Due to membership fees being carried over from the first semester, we can offer more valuable benefits and support than before. It is so sad that all classes must be conducted remotely, especially for the freshmen in their first semester. The College of Natural Science is trying to give a lot of concessions to its students.”
Contrary to school membership fees, students pay a department membership fee to each department association. Department membership fees are used towards each department’s events. Despite students paying for four years of department membership fees at once, due to COVID-19 there is no use for department membership fees this semester. Several departments have given their positions on this situation.
The president of the Department of English Language & Literature said, “The department membership fee for four years is 250,000 won, which is used for the convenience of students. Mainly, the purpose is to play sports, to hold Coming-of-Age Day events, and to maintain and manage the department rooms. As it is public money, it is recorded in the department's books, and details of the use of student membership fees are disclosed at the general meeting of each semester. In addition, students can check the books using the computer in the classroom if they want. However, this year, due to the COVID-19, we plan not to collect membership fees until the start of face-to-face lectures. For students who entered the class of 2020, we feel the need to reduce membership fees.” Also, the Department of Culture & Technology said, “We collected 240,000 won as the four year department membership fee. But since the first semester was converted to remote classes, we have yet to collect department membership fees.” They additionally said, “But there is nothing to fix. We will have a meeting on this topic after returning to face-to-face classes.”
On the other hand, some departments have collected membership fees. The president of the Department of Law said, “We already got the membership fees which were 190,000 won per student. Membership fees are usually supposed to go towards department events like retreats, festivals, and graduation.” When asked about possible refunds of department membership fees the response was, "There is no discussion because there have been be no example of refunds.”
Some College associations are willing to manage department membership fees fairly, but there are still problems that should not be overlooked. Some College associations are carrying over membership fees from the first semester to the second semester, but students who will graduate in the first semester will not benefit from this. So college associations should think how can deal with this problem. Some department associations have discussed the reduction of department membership fees, but current students already paid their four year department membership fee when they were freshmen. For that reason, departments should discuss fee reduction for existing students too. Other department associations already collected department membership fees from freshmen. Although the first semester is being taught remotely, it is a shame not to address potentially reducing these fees. It is necessary to manage membership fees systematically and clearly since membership fees are official money.
By Choi Yuri, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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