The Korea Herald


SNU medical grad students experience more abuse than other majors: report

By Park Jun-hee

Published : Nov. 8, 2023 - 14:01

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Graduate students at Seoul National University’s Colleges of Medicine and Nursing reported experiencing a higher incidence of abuse compared to graduate students in other departments, data showed Wednesday.

According to a survey jointly conducted by the SNU’s Human Rights Center and the Institute for Social Development and Policy Research Center, 24.8 percent of respondents pursuing education in the medical field answered “yes” when asked if they had been subject to offensive or vulgar language while attending SNU. This percentage is higher than the overall average of 15.6 percent.

Aside from verbal abuse, the data also showed that respondents in the medical field reported experiencing more physical violence than their peers in other departments at the university. Among graduate students in the medical field, 7.4 percent of respondents reported experiencing physical violence, which is about three times higher than the average figure across other departments of 2.5 percent.

The finding came to light in a survey conducted between November and December last year based on 1,715 respondents, comprising 497 graduate students from the humanities, social sciences and the arts, 429 from the natural sciences department, 326 engineering majors, 314 from professional graduate schools at SNU and 149 graduate students in the medical field.

Grad students in medical field majors also reported higher rates of discrimination and exclusion, with 53.1 percent of them answering that they had experienced unfair treatment while at SNU’s graduate school.

Meanwhile, graduate students in the humanities, social sciences and the arts divisions showed the highest risk of suicide, with 25.7 percent of respondents answering “yes” when asked if they had experienced suicidal thoughts during their time at SNU graduate school, while engineering graduate students showed the lowest rate of experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The report explained that graduate students at SNU had asked for measures to improve the protection of their rights, as well as their rights to pursue happiness,

In particular, it added that graduate students in the medical field had demanded significant improvements in their school environment, especially in regard to the reportedly cliquish atmosphere in the research laboratories and the strong hierarchy culture.

If you’re thinking about self-harm or suicide, contact the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s helpline on 1393, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please request a translator for English-language services.