YU students express opinions on the free bulletin board
On the free bulletin board of the YU official homepage many complaints are posted regarding the office of the school registrar. This office has become notorious for its unkindness toward students. One student who uses the nickname “피엘” called the registrar to check on information. A male employee abruptly asked the student, “Why are you asking me?” Another student using the nickname “choda” called the Career Development Center for Women because she wanted to know how many seats were available for applicants trying to enroll in a certificate program. An employee answered, “You don’t have to know that, just apply.” Another student using the nickname “소잉” stated that students always get nervous when visiting the registrar because of the negative and dismissive facial expressions and voice tones of the staff. In the case of the Medical Center, the General Student’s Association has even gone so far as to come forward to make a formal complaint on behalf of YU students who have had problems. In May 2011, one student had to wait for a long time to receive medicine after having a consultation because the office worker was on a personal phone call. After reading this message the General Student's Association took action and visited the Medical Center and raised their voices. In March 2013, after one student wrote a post on the bulletin board about the unkindness of the doctors the General Student's Association went there and interviewed the head of the center. He made the usual excuses that because of the change in seasons many students had checkups so the doctor had become exhausted.
What YU students think
The Observer conducted a survey after analyzing the posts about the conduct of YU employees. We surveyed 248 students and 106 of them replied “unsatisfactory” to the question, “Are you generally satisfied with the service of the school administrative offices and departments at YU?” Forty-seven of the unsatisfied students responded that the worst service they had experienced came from their major and department administrative offices. The next most common responses were the registrar’s office (21 students) and the office of academic affairs team (5 students). Students who answered that their major and department administrative offices were “unsatisfactory” came mostly from the department of undecided majors and English Language & Literature. In the “et cetera” column of the survey, students answered the office of planning (1 student) and the administrative office of school dormitory (2 students). Regarding the question, “why do you feel this way?” 56 of the 106 students answered “unkind service.” The next most common responses were “inaccuracy in processing work” and “negligence” related to running personal errands for long periods of time during a office hours.
Confirmation of the issues
I called directly to an employee at the registrar’s office. At first, I just told her that I was an enrolled student and asked her, “Is it possible that 3 credits that I completed at a foreign university could be acknowledged in a credit exchange?” The employee abruptly asked “Who?” At first, I could not understand what the employee was asking. It was a question about my major, grade, and student name.
On September 10th, a student visited the editorial office of The Observer to report about the conduct of his major’s administrative office.
Interview with Jeong-dong Yi, Senior, Political Studies & Diplomacy
Q) What happened to you? A) Not long ago I went to my major’s administrative office to borrow glue and scissors. One employee told me “You cannot attend to personal affairs in here,” and drove me out. I started to get upset and asked, “Are there any school regulations, which have been set by the board of directors that state students cannot use office equipment?” She answered in a rough voice, “Did you borrow scissors from the teachers’ room when you were a high school student?” Due to this incident I called Jeong-hwa Huh who works for the office of personnel at the university headquarters. I asked her the same question. She answered that students could certainly use the office supplies. She also promised to give the employee kindness education. The next day, I visited the office again to meet the employee. The employee said that she never received a call from the office of personnel with an overbearing manner. I could not hold down my anger.
Q) How do you think this should be dealt with? A) I think that the university should order employees to wear their name tags at all times. It is the only way that they can feel a sense of accountability to the students.
Interview with Seon-ju Park, team leader at the office of the registrar
Q) Many students think the unkindest administrative office is yours. What do you think about the survey results?
A) First of all, I accept the survey results and I’m sorry about them. However, there are many factors involved. One major issue is that our department deals with the most difficult situations. The nature of the issues often causes conflict. You know the expression, “It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” I think students are often already stressed out about their issues when they come to our office and are sensitive to what we have to tell them.
Q) Is there any customer service training being conducted by your office? A) Not currently, but the university regularly makes an assessment of all YU administrative offices. Yeungnam University also transfers personnel almost once every 6 months, so employees have difficulty grasping their tasks completely. This lack of continuity in staff makes it difficult to deal with all students who abruptly visit and want immediate resolutions to their difficult situations.
Q) What incidents cause the most problems? A) At the beginning of the semester, despite being past the deadline, some students make unreasonable demands to register for courses or apply to go back to school. When students ask about things that can be done on the university homepage, we actually have difficulty to reply to them all individually. In addition, the General Student’s Association occasionally visits us, but the majority of the problems that they present do not apply to the majority of the 20,000 students here.
Trying to deal with the issue
If you write a message related to inconveniences with the administration and facilities, or write a compliment or notification to the faculty on the “compliment / inconveniences” menu of the university homepage, you can receive a reply from the department. However, you must login and access the total information system through the bulletin board which makes use of a real-name system.
Employees at the university are necessary for students and play an important role in our academic careers. Therefore, I think that it is proper for them to have excellent benefits. However, these benefits would not be possible without the students. Employees should recognize this fact and make an effort to improve their services to students. Also, when students visit school administrative offices and departments, they have to be polite accordingly and be more professional in resolving our issues.