The Ohio State University Police Department was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, located in Chicago, on behalf of its ‘Mentor-Mentee Network’ last week.
The program is designed to create a relationship between University Police and Korean students studying abroad in the U.S.
The Korean International Student Organization at OSU is designed to get Korean students acclimated to the university and life in the U.S., and University Police Officer Doug Cunningham will be partnering with them to further familiarize the students about on-campus safety.
“Coming from another country to a new country to go to school, there’s some language barriers, there’s cultural barriers and often times the country’s police officials have a different role than they do here in the U.S.” Cunningham said. “It gives them a … person of authority at the college that they can go to with any questions, concerns or problems.”
Cunningham said that he thinks this program is a good idea and that it will break any barriers that there might be between the students studying abroad and the police.
“The goal is just to be that go-to person with any questions they might have about crime tips, safety,” he said. “A lot times they’re victims of crime because they’re easy targets. My goal is to educate them on what they need to do to be safe.”
The purpose of the South Korean Consulate in Chicago is to create a positive experience for Koreans in the Midwestern states. Jae-woong Lee, the deputy consul general of the consulate, said he wanted this positive experience to expand to universities as well.
“The most important thing is to assure the safety and security and general protection of Koreans living abroad,” Lee said. “I think it is really important that should something happen, they have somebody that they can turn to.”
Lee said OSU is the first university that the consulate has visited, although they have launched this program at several universities in the Midwest, including University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University.
Wonshin Park, the president of KISO, said that the organization’s main focus is on the adjustment of Korean students studying abroad and educating others on the Korean culture.
“Korean students don’t know where to contact or what to do when they have an emergency,” Park said. “Most students will try to stay quiet or try to solve it on their own, which is not, in most cases, possible.”
Park said that he is looking forward to building a relationship with University police and Cunningham and the benefits it will bring to Korean students on campus.
“It will be a great and official way to access help from the police department and our mentor, and I think it will help us in the future,” Park said regarding his hopes for the development of the Mentor-Mentee Network. “Just constant good relations and communication.”