This summer was a very bleak and troubling period for all of us here at KNU. A professor at our university inflicted physical and verbal abuse too shameful to put into words on one of his students. This professor was dismissed on disciplinary grounds. And although we can mitigate the situation by saying we have nothing to do with this as these incidents of abuse took place outside of our campus, at the same time we cannot ignore that fact that our reputation has been severely damaged due to this abominable act. We are now under the watchful eye of the media making the atmosphere here at our university an extremely tense one. However, it is important that we all come together and find ways to overcome this difficult situation.
First and foremost, follow-up measures need to be taken in order to prevent these kinds of incidents from happening again. As the saying goes, “better late than never.” It is imperative that we lay a solid foundation in order to deal with challenging issues. If we dismiss the aforementioned incident as one crazy professor that displayed deviant behavior, who is to say that this won’t happen again in the future?
Second, we need to do our part in rebuilding the reputation of our university. This was a big wake up call for all of us. We need to show the public that our university does not tolerate this kind of behavior under any circumstances. This is not who we are as a university. It is essential that we lead by example during this crucial period.
Third, we need to realize that all of our actions have consequences. The actions of just one person caused a major ripple effect. One bad apple ruined the whole fruit basket. Everyone here at KNU must come together and move forward for a better future.
Fourth, faculty and staff should support and exchange words of encouragement with one another. In actuality, the students have become the real victims from this incident. A feeling of shame must be replaced with a feeling of pride. In order to do that, the university needs to take tangible steps. We all need to do our part by providing quality education in a safe learning environment.
“If one conforms to the norms, if one is content on the present state, and if one is idle, it will only be an expedient substitute for something else making everything in the world weak and frail.” This is a passage from “Gwajeongrok” Park Jong-chae, the second son of Yeonam Park Ji-won, a scholar of the Realist School of Confucianism during the late Joseon Period.
This passage is a satire on the attitude of letting things go and fixing things merely on the surface. Success is built upon a strong foundation — not a makeshift. I am sure we have all learned something from this incident. There is no need to feel hopeless because difficult times lead to better days. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Let’s start the new semester off on the right foot by doing our part in building a brighter future for our university.
Translated by Julia Kim