“Money is like a string instrument. The person who doesn’t know how to use it properly will hear dissonance.”
Anonymously on Facebook on May 6, a Public Administration student cast doubt over his department’s audit, the student union fee, and the audit on department or school fees. His post has emerged as a hot issue. He wrote, “The Department of Public Administration’s balance carried over in October last year was 1,790,868 won, according to the audit. On the statement in January this year, however, the balance came in at 0 won.” He raised a question on how the balance has come down to zero for just two months. The former head of the Public Administration Department commented, “After the October audit, our spending has broken down to the following; 600,000 won for chartering a bus on a Membership Training (MT) program in autumn and the remaining 1,190,868 won was earmarked for a Leadership Training (LT) of the executives of the department and for photos.” He also admitted his mistake and was ready for any disciplinary action. Surprisingly enough, it was not a singular incident on campus. A similar case was reported on the Department of Saemaeul International Development and these cases are the only two we have found out.
Different departments may have different spending policies but students in general pay department fees for eight semesters from admission to graduation. The amount paid is distributed differently from less than 40,000 won to over 400,000 won. Students pay them voluntarily but they said most of them pay under the influence of ‘invisible’ pressure from students who have seniority.
The revelation has brought the student council and the Central Audit Committee under fire. The committee posted its explanation on the SNS, and now they are looking into the audits of each department in detail.
The Central Audit Committee consists of the executives from the Central Audit Committee, departments and the student council. It is monitoring the student council’s business in general, pledges, and accounts. However, in mid-October every year, most of the student council executives complete their tenure as elections get under way for a new student council in November. Consequently, the student council which is responsible for monitoring the budget virtually cease to function from November to December. To address this issue, the Central Audit Committee said they will have an interim audit during this intervening period between November and December this year. An interim audit differs from a regular audit which is conducted once a semester.
Choi Woo-ttuk, head executive of the Central Audit Committee, said, “Because this incident has also happened in the past, we must keep watching. I’m very sorry it happened again. We’re going to work out these problems through an interim audit and secure reliability and transparency of the Central Audit Committee.”
The committee added that it will have a public hearing with students and bring up all the details on the table. The specifics of the public hearing will be determined by the committee and the Central Committee.
Still criticism over the Central Audit Commission lingers. They denounce the lax attitude of the Central Audit Committee. In fact, most students are thinking the reason why this absurdity has existed is that lukewarm disciplinary actions of the Central Audit Committee which allowed the departments in question to simply apologize and take reimbursement measures, and that the punishment is a little too lenient.
Asked about this incident, an anonymous student who majors in family & housing studies said, “Recently, there has been so much information on SNS about embezzlement in some departments. However, there is very little clear explanation about it so that other students can understand.” Another student who majors in the Korean Language & Literature said, “If this is not to occur again, the Central Audit Committee should be monitored by an outside legal service provider, not by the students.” Meanwhile, some students express concerns whether the Central Audit Commit overlooks the incident during the university festival.