Tired of the popular college tradition of week-long events where students are encouraged to send love notes to their secret crushes, a group of National Chung Cheng University (NCCU) students organized “a week to send hate” (傳恨週).
The event, which began on Monday and wraps up later today, encourages students to anonymously write down their unhappiness with the school, a department or specific school policies on postcards, which will be delivered for a NT$10 fee by the organizers to the school division or personnel being criticized.
Ko Chien-yung (柯乾庸), a political science student and one of the organizers, said the event was inspired by a group of political science students who protested in 2011 against the university’s decision to cap the number of teachers hired each year.
“The students later formed a student society with the aim of speaking up for their rights,” Ko said.
The university said at the time that the decision had been made to avoid a potential budget deficit of about NT$30 million (US$1 million) after the government approved a 3 percent pay raise for military personnel, public servants and teachers at public schools. The protesters were concerned the policy might affect their right to an education.
Lu Hung-chih (呂鴻志), a junior who helped design the hate event, said the primary aim was to create a platform where students could freely express their opposition to or offer advice on school policies they are unhappy about.
“We also put the character for hen [恨, hate] in red, right in the middle of the postcard, to highlight the theme of the event,” Lu said.
The organizers planned more than just postcards, including a forum on major social issues that focused on the forced demolition of private homes and a proposal to legalize same-sex marriages.
Although a professor bought 40 postcards on the first day, the “send hate” effort initially received a lukewarm response from students, the organizers said.
There was more of a frenzy on the second day, with 24 postcards selling in just 10 minutes, they said.
The messages the organizers have received so far cover a wide range of topics, ranging from cars speeding on the campus and the Computer Center’s listing of an outdated exam as a graduation requirement, to a professor’s anti-homosexual comments in a classroom.
“We hope these messages could stimulate more discussions on issues that matter and encourage people to put more thoughts into how to solve the problems,” Ko said.
University secretary-general Chen Chao-hui (陳朝輝) said the school supported the idea that students could use the event to explore potential problems on campus and that it would make necessary improvements after receiving the postcards, but “destructive advice will not be taken into consideration.”