Students debate on Chuo’s relocation plan


“Chuo Vision 2025”, the university’s midterm development plan unveiled in 2015, proposes relocating part of its liberal arts faculties in the Tama campus to central Tokyo. As an initial step, the Faculty of Law is to be moved to the Korakuen campus in Bunkyo Ward, where the Faculty of Science and Engineering is located. President and Chancellor Shozaburo Sakai, in an interview with the weekly magazine AERA in November, mentioned (1) a more efficient deployment of faculty members, (2) promotion of interchanges between students and graduates who work in legal profession and (3) prevention of students flowing out to other law schools from Chuo as the main reasons for the relocation.

By the way, Chuo has a weird student circle which calls itself “Henjin-gakubu” (literally meaning the faculty of erratic persons). It holds seminars and mock classes for other students. Leading the group is Kazunari Tanimura, a fourth grader of the Faculty of Law. He calls himself “dean” of the club. On Dec. 13, this Henjin-gakubu organized a public debate on the relocation issue at the Korakuen campus. Before the event, it had polled 104 Faculty of Science and Engineering students about the planned relocation of the Law Faculty to Korakuen. The outcome was neck and neck, with 50 voting for and 54 against.

The debate was based on the result of the poll. Three liberal arts students from the Tama campus and four Science and Engineering students from the Korakuen campus took part in the debate as supporters and opponents. One of the supporters, Rumi Fukuda (a fourth grader of the Faculty of Science and Engineering) referred to her own experience of interchanges with arts students from the Tama campus and said, “Features of a comprehensive university cannot be fully exploited in the present situation where arts and science students remain separated at two remote locations. I believe chances to get in touch with diverse values are very much precious.”

On the other hand, a dissenting view was expressed by Keisuke Hosaka (a second grader of the Faculty of Science and Engineering), who pointed out the limited capacity of the Korakuen campus. He said, “The cafeteria on our campus is always packed at the lunch break. If Law Faculty students come over here, we won’t be able to have a meal due to muss and fuss.” In the poll, 31 out of the 54 students who voted against had said such overcrowding will be problematic. Meanwhile, the biggest reason cited by supporters was that the relocation will bring more female students to Korakuen. That looked quite natural given an overwhelmingly high ratio of male students at the Korakuen campus.

Toward the end of the debate, Takatoki Morino (a third grader of the Faculty of Law) suggested, “Our problem might be resolved if Chuo builds its new campus at the site of the Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market after its relocation (scheduled for October 2018).” Audiences looked excited at his unique idea. “Dean” Tanimura said in his concluding remark, “Students rarely pay their attention to problems their school faces. We organized this debate in hopes of providing them with chances to speak out their opinions.”

How the school authorities will take the result of the poll and debate deserves full attention.

(Written by: Hideki Kato)

中央大学は2015年に策定した中長期事業計画「Chuo Vision 2025」で、文系学部の一部を東京都心へ移転することを掲げ、その第一弾として、法学部を現在理工学部のある文京区の後楽園キャンパスに移すことを計画している。酒井正三郎学長・総長は11月に週刊誌「AERA」のインタビューに答え、法学部の都心移転の理由について①教授陣の効率的配置②法曹界OB/OGとの交流促進③法科大学院進学時の学生の流出防止、などを挙げている。

ところで、中央大学に「変人学部」という風変わりな名の学生サークルがある。 学生向けに学内でセミナーや模擬授業を実施することがこのサークルの活動内容だが、リーダーの谷村一成さん(法学部4年)の役職名は「学部長」だ。この変人学部が12月13日に焦点の後楽園キャンパスで移転問題について公開討論会を開催した。変人学部はこれより先、理工学部生104人を対象に法学部の同キャンパスへの移転について賛否を問うアンケートを実施。賛成50人、反対54人というほぼ拮抗した結果を得ている。







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