In 2015, Human Rights-Friendly School and Beyond Movement Headquarters held a Bad School Rules Contest. It is an organization of education, human rights, youth, social networks across the country that are concerned about human rights-friendly schools and society. They collected some bad rules from Korean middle schools and high schools. As a result, some unacceptable bad rules came to light that infringe on students’ human rights. For example, at a girl’s high school in Busan, hair length should be seven centimeters below the ear. Also, there were rules that penalized students if their skirt length, shoes, and underwear did not meet school standards. In another school, a student with low grades cannot be a class president or vice president. After these results came out, many people were surprised by the facts.
Like Korean middle school and high school students, Korean University students encounter some questionable human rights issues. A few years ago, a spotlight was put on sexual harassment among college students. Also, it became a big issue everywhere in Korea, so some universities have tried to establish human rights center on their campuses. Chung-Ang University (CAU) was the first to set up its human rights headquarters in 2012.
After that, five universities including Seoul National University, Korea University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIST), Dongguk University, and Chung-buk National University made human rights centers for their students and faculty.
At Seoul National University, sexual harassment has been an issue that has received continuous attention. It is pushing for the establishment of the Seoul National University Bill of Rights, which declares the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty. The school has recognized that the issue of human rights violations between professors and graduate students has become more common.
In order to reach an agreement and to create a set of human rights norms, the school will try to make a Bill of Rights. It will include responsibility and rights of university members, university’s duties, and procedures for violations.
At Seowon University, there is not a human rights center, but there is a Gender Equality Counseling Center. It provides immediate countermeasures and professional psychological counseling for sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus. It helps students resolve sexual harassment issues and dating problems in a satisfactory and effective manner. It also provides education on sex and violence for Seowon University members. Students who experience sexual harassment should visit or contact the Gender Equality Counseling Center in our school.
In one alternative schools here in Korea, students make their school rules and decide which rules they are going to obey. However, there are still some schools that have unacceptable rules for students as mentioned above. Rules should be made autonomously and in a way that respects the human rights of students. Students should also know their human rights and demand that these rights are not ignored.