Sunday, February 8, 2009

Third Generation Zainichi Korean denied membership to Debate Club at the Nihon University's College of Law

University debate team suspends activities after resident Korean student claims discrimination
Courtesy of Mak and T3

The debate club of Nihon University’s College of Law suspended activities after a third-generation Korean resident said she was refused entry because of her ethnicity, The Asahi Shimbun learned.

The 21-year-old first-year student said she could not join the club in April because several senior members had a problem with her South Korean nationality.

Along with her mother, she lodged a discrimination complaint to the Tokyo-based university in early June.

The university administration commissioned lawyers to investigate the case and determined that the student was indeed discriminated against because of her nationality and ethnicity.

But members of the club denied that discrimination had anything to do with their refusal to let the student join.

The investigative team found that concerns were raised by senior club members over “how they would get along with a foreigner” and the possibility that she might be involved in a “radical religious activity.”

The club suspended activities in late June after a request from the university’s human rights committee.

Three senior members and two professors serving as club supervisors issued an apology to the student for causing “grief and pain.”

The student has refused to accept the apology because of their denial of discrimination.

The student attended an introductory session for prospective new members in late April, but was told the following day that she could not join.

A senior student told her that her class schedule would likely conflict with the club’s activities and that the club supervisor might dislike “the light color of her hair.”

However, she said she later learned from a friend who was a member of the club that senior members had said to the effect that they would “have a problem with her cultural background as a resident Korean.”

(IHT/Asahi: July 16,2008)

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