< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >
"I graduated 52nd Department of Theatre!" is the line from the film, "Tazza 3," which was released in 2019. The character Young-mi says she graduated from Chung-Ang University's Department of Performing Arts and Media to show off her ability when joining a crime crew. As such, Chung-Ang University's School of Performing Arts and Media has served as a gateway for many actors and maintains its reputation. There are suspicions that have been raised slowly in the department of theater and film that are related to special admissions for entertainers. When the admission of model and actor Lee was made public on Nov. 18 last year, the public was unreceptive. It was the same for Park, a singer and actor who also entered CAU. It was mainly because of the public suspicion that they received preferential scores in admission process, which could be the privilege for entertainers. However, did they really get preferential treatment? What would be the reason if they were given this privilege? Let's find out what special admissions for celebrities are and what suspicions have existed.
The Beginning of the Celebrity Special Admission Scandal
Special admission for celebrities is one of the keywords that go up and down portal sites every year. This has appeared in several universities. In the process of selecting graduate students at Kyung-Hee University, direct evidence came out in some cases, such as Jeong Yong-hwa of CNBLUE, a group that enjoyed special favors in getting admitted without interviews; but suspicions abound as to the circumstantial nature of the evidence. Therefore, most of them ended up in conflicts between fans who claimed there was no evidence and applicants who felt a sense of relative deprivation. So, when did celebrity special admissions start? The special admission was real and the fact that the selection of entertainment specialties existed proves it.
A special admission process is to score a celebrity applicant's entertainment career like ordinary academic scores. This process was conducted by the School of Performing Arts and Media of leading universities before, and there are still universities that maintain it today. One example is the ‘Self-recommendation test’ of Sungkyunkwan University, which existed in the past. The department of theatre will conduct the entrance examination giving 30 percent to the document evaluation score and 70 percent to the interview and practice scores, with winners such as acting, production-related contests and model selection competitions, as well as those with experience in activities such as plays, musicals and movies. It seems reasonable on the surface, but it cannot be ignored that is very advantageous to celebrities. Kon-kuk University also abolished the "Entertainment Specialist Program" in 2013, which selected professional journalists with experience in entertainment activities or award-winning experiences. Even after the abolition of the special talent screening process, many students from celebrity backgrounds are being selected.
Were there any Special Admissions for Celebrities at Chung-Ang University?
It is hard to give a definite answer to this. There is a special talent admission program at Chung-Ang University, which has been the route for many entertainers to enter the school. This program is not only for celebrities, but also those with theater, film, acting, and broadcasting experience gaining the most benefits. There was a controversy in 2011 when Luna, a former member of the idol group f(x), entered the department of theatre. There were allegations that Luna, a singer who had no experience in acting, was giving excessive favors over her admission to the Department of Theatre (School of Performing Arts and Media). An official at a Seoul-based university interviewed by Dong-A News said, "We don't select only performers for the special talent program, but the suspicions over special cases of the actors are becoming too high."
Specialists in arts and physical education have a high chance of passing the exam, as they select students by combining 80 percent of their official records 20 percent of their aptitude test. Similar with the above Sungkyunkwan University example, the performance evaluation was criticized for helping celebrities get preferential admission by giving scores to their broadcasting and acting careers. The admission process is currently used in the process of selecting students for the arts college at Anseong Campus. so celebrities who recently entered the school have been admitted through a regular admission process. For student department evaluations, objective evaluation data will be left. However, it is difficult to confirm whether celebrities and non-entertainers are being evaluated on an equal basis in the process. That is why the fairness of the show is being questioned even though it does not use the full-scale special talent program.
Is Giving a Special Admission to Celebrities Right?
Some people oppose saying “special admission of celebrities”. In other words, they claim that the students were admitted only because of their talent, not their celebrity status, so it is not a dishonest admission. They defend the school by saying, "Where the degree of producing future entertainers, such as acting majors, greatly influences the reputation of the department, has made a realistic choice for the future of the department." In overseas universities, there are several cases where admissions officers carefully evaluate the careers and talents of famous actors and actresses. Private universities in the U.S. do not just select students simply based on their grades, but also based on their various specialties. Famous actress Emma Watson entered Brown University's English department based on her acting career, and the donations she and other celebrities paid to enter the school are now being used as scholarships for ordinary students. It also adds to this argument that it is difficult to disclose exactly the actual screening process. And, the question appears that in which admissions officers conduct a qualitative evaluation, was suitable for acting majors and was superior to other students. Being pressured to disclose all your grades because you are an entertainer could be considered unfair as well. The fact that there are no clear criteria to distinguish fairness from injustice is also deepening this difficulty. There are many entertainers who have not taken classes properly or who continue to delay graduation and are on a leave of absence since the admission of entertainers. With university admissions becoming the goal of many students in society, celebrities who don’t attend sincere school life will never look good. Students are also demanding that if they entered the school through their hard-earned portfolios and careers, they should faithfully engage in school life. Is the admission of celebrities to university a preferential treatment or a special admission?
Korea is often immersed in the thoughts “Living comfortably when you are a celebrity.” Therefore, controversy over fairness arises more strongly in places where all citizens must pass through once, such as being conscripted into the army or entering schools. Park Geo-yong, a professor at Sang-myung University at the University Education Research Institute, pointed out that there is a need to supplement the screening process to prevent disadvantages for ordinary students compared to celebrities, arguing that post-admission academic management also needs to be carried out on an equal footing with ordinary students. However, it is not just an individual celebrity who received fair or unfair treatment. The system with which the injustice was overlooked is more responsible. It would be of great help in creating a fair society if we pointed together to problems of the system behind them before lashing out at individuals revealed above the surface.