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Seoul National University Diversity Council Takes Action

May 19, 2016

Professor ROE Jung-Hye, Chair of the newly established SNU Diversity Council, is giving a speech at the forum “Why Diversity?”
Professor ROE Jung-Hye, Chair of the newly established SNU Diversity Council, is giving a speech at the forum “Why Diversity?”

Seoul National University has launched the Diversity Council dedicated to spreading awareness and action toward creating a campus that respects students and faculty regardless of gender, nationality, and physical, economic, or social differences.

This is the first time in SNU’s history where this type of committee has been created under the direct supervision of the president of the university. 15 members constituted the committee body, including the Dean of Academic Affairs, Dean of Student Affairs, faculty members, students, and representatives.

The Diversity Council held its first official open event called “Why Diversity?” at the Asia Center’s Youngwon Hall on March 23.

The forum began mentioning last year’s meeting of the Female Faculty Association which addressed the disproportionate number of female professors to the number of female graduates. From the topic of gender equality, the meeting expanded to a discussion of the concerns of international students and those of disabled students.

The keynote speaker was Professor Judy Singer, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity at Harvard University. She stated that a group with more diversity is more likely to make better decisions. She also said that the world is growing more gender equality conscious and that SNU needs to actively participate in this movement.

Professor Judy Singer, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity
Professor Judy Singer, Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity

The speech was followed by a panel discussion. Professor HAN In Seob, Director of Human Rights Center, Professor LIM Hae Ran, Director of Institute for Gender Research, Professor CHO Theresa Seung Ah, Associate Dean of International Affairs, Professor LEE Junho, Associate Dean of College of Natural Sciences, and KIM Bo Mi, President of Student Council joined the discussion.

Professor Han pointed out that policies or regulations regarding student selection and scholarship aid can be reevaluated in order to address the enhancement of diversity. Kim, the student body president, added that there are already many clubs and organizations on campus representing minority groups, but the school needs to put in more effort to make sure that these groups can get their voices heard, without the fear of “differences” leading to “discrimination”.

Professor ROE Jung-Hye, the chairperson of the Diversity Council agreed to these issues and solutions and emphasized the goal of the committee: “Our mission is to promote diversity for a healthy progress including gender equality, international students’ learning rights, and various other overlooked issues regarding minorities.”

Written by Ho Jung Annie Hwang, SNU English Editor, annieohan@snu.ac.kr
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, tlsmith@snu.ac.kr