Thursday, June 16, 2011

Whistle-Blowers Who Exposed University Corruption Punished

Four professors at Sogang University in Seoul, who exposed another professor's embezzlement of government funds, are embroiled in deepening legal action after they were fired by the university for damaging its reputation.

"We pride ourselves on being the most corrupt university in Korea", said a spokesman for the institution, whose motto is 'corruptio optimi mirabile'. "The entire basis of our financial model is premised on misappropriating government money, and we face tough competition with other universities, defense contractors and chaebol for that embezzled cash, which these reckless individual actions will now endanger."

It isn't clear what caused the professors' bizarre ethical outburst, but the university also fears that if the behavior spreads across campus it could endanger their academic-grades-for-cash program.

The university said Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit with the Seoul Administrative Court to protest a decision by the Ministry of Education-affiliated Appeal Commission for Teachers, which earlier recommended that the school withdraw its decision to dismiss the four professors over their ethical outburst, instead suggesting that two of them should be suspended from their offices for three months, and the the other two have their wages cut for the same period.

While sources say the government is reluctant to take an overt role in the affair, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said that they hoped the decision by the Appeal Commission for Teachers - which is effectively a government agency under their control - to support the punishment of the reckless professors, would send a strong message to other individuals potentially suffering from an outbreak of moral behavior to seek medical help.

There is a fear among some senior ministers that the reckless professors may even endanger Korea's economic model, which is based on the principle of the 'redistribution of wealth', where money is taken from poor taxpayers and redistributed to rich corporations, preferably in large brown envelopes. "This system keeps the poor in their financial place and ensures their continued enslavement to the chaebol system." said a former Director of Strategic Planning at the Ministry of Finance who retired last year, speaking on condition on anonymity, "Imagine what would happen if the working poor got richer and decided they didn't want to be indentured employees any more - it would be chaos."

Even if it mainly remains a largely private arrangement between those in government and their friends in the private sector, it is generally agreed that the embezzlement of government funds - which was designated 'Important Intangible Cultural Property (No. 108)' in 2005 - is a vital aspect of Korea's cultural heritage which the professors have recklessly endangered.

Despite their attack on Korean society, the reckless professors inexplicably claim they "did nothing wrong". A Sogang University administration official meanwhile maintains that the school will dismiss the professors "through proper judicial proceedings", stressing that the professors "severely tarnished the school's image, and disgraced members of the Sogang community."

Related Links
Sogang Univ. in court battle with whistle blowing professors
Redistribution of wealth

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