This article highlights select portions from the following public emails the 12th UIC Student Council “Solidity” sent to all UIC students: “Public Hearing Session regarding UIC Relocation (documents)” [sent September 11, 2017] and “Update on Building Relocation” [sent November 10, 2017]. For more information, please refer to these emails.
New Millenium Hall (NMH) has been the home of Underwood International College (UIC) ever since the college first opened classes in 2006. For over a decade, NMH faithfully housed UIC students, faculty, and administration. But starting from 2018, UIC bids farewell to NMH as the college relocates to Daewoo International Hall (DIH). “Daewoo” commemorates the Daewoo Group that funded the initial construction of DIH (then named Daewoo Annex Hall) decades before its recent renovation, while “International Hall” symbolizes the identity of UIC.
Dean Jin-bae Chung informs that renovation was chosen over the construction of a new building due to a “serious lack of space” in Sinchon campus. He states, “Having an independent building is important for the identity of UIC. The location is great. We are moving toward the center of the campus. Nobody will know of our presence if we stay in NMH. It is like being on our own island.”
The Dean further notes that the additional benefits of the relocation include a 15 percent increase in space, modern facilities with “humanistic, student-centered design,” a more pleasant environment for UIC professors who “have their offices in semi-basements in NMH,” and an enhanced “sense of family” by having all UIC students, faculty, and admin members in one building.
Yet, this decision to relocate was not without criticism.
Bio-Convergence (BC) Major Representative Kim expressed concern for UIC independence, asking, “Some spaces in the fourth and fifth floor of DIH are designated to other non-UIC entities. How can you explain that?”
Professor Samyoul Lee replied that UIC had to share space with non-UIC entities within DIH because the edifice was initially funded by the Daewoo Group from the College of Commerce and Economics. He further noted that concessions had to be made and the relocation “is not a territory war.”
BC Major Representative Kim criticized administrative favoritism towards students within the Underwood Division (UD) by stating, “In the basement area of DIH, there is a UD student room, but there is no place in the building with a name of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Field (HASS) or Integrated Science and Engineering Field (ISED). I think that is a major problem.”
The Dean responded, “According to school regulation, UD students stay in Sinchon campus for four years until their graduation while HASS and ISED spend most of their time in the International Campus. That is why we have a spatial separation. Nevertheless, when HASS and ISED students come to Sinchon campus, they will be welcomed to use DIH.”
Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) Major Vice-Representative Choi expressed disappointment that although UIC students pay twice the tuition of other non-UIC Yonsei majors, the space within DIH had to be shared with non-UIC entities.
Professor Samyoul Lee replied, “Paying double tuition is not factor for consideration in the building move. In the construction of the School of Business, 30 billion won was donated by alumni and students. Since UIC contributed none to the construction of a building, it is difficult to say that. In maybe 10 years? After a long time projection, we might have our own building.”
The relocation from NMH to DIH mirrors the past relocation from Sinchon to Songdo campus. Tensions between administration and students are inevitable as conflicting visions for the improvement of the college persist. One way to mitigate some of the drawbacks and difficulties lies in reminding ourselves of the ulterior end that we envision. The issue of relocation ultimately boils down to the intention for creating a better UIC. So long as we understand that the fruits of our changes cannot be taken for granted and gracefully deal with the initial inconvenience, we can not only bridge our differences but leave a sturdier bridge as a legacy for our future classes to come.