중앙데일리

Corrupt professors common, students say

Apr 27,2005
Following yesterday’s allegation that a professor at Seoul National University misappropriated research grant funds, a number of graduate assistants across Korea have come forward with similar charges about professors.
A 39-year-old engineering professor at Seoul National University is being investigated for forging a credit card receipt for laboratory equipment he never purchased. He was reimbursed by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, one of a number of government agencies and private companies that funded his research. He was also accused of keeping graduate assistants’ stipends. His misappropriations allegedly totaled 100 million won ($100,000).
According to students who called the JoongAng Ilbo, such research grant fraud is common among professors.
A graduate student at Seoul National University’s College of Engineering said that over the past three years, he has received only half of the money he was supposed to have been paid for his research projects, with the rest going into his professor’s pockets. “Student bank accounts became dummy accounts for professors,” the student said.
Many students say they decided not to become whistleblowers for fear of jeopardizing their academic futures.
One Korea University graduate student noted that professors at well-known universities wield a significant amount of influence in their respective fields, and said to accuse such professors could endanger students’ careers.
Some also said that punishments levied on professors who have committed misappropriations are too lenient.
For instance, a Korea University professor who embezzled more than 300 million won last year was only fined 20 million won, and was not punished by the school.
Seoul National University held a press conference yesterday to announce that it will conduct an internal investigation into the fraud case, and will hand down “severe punishment” if the fraud is proven.


by Baek Il-hyun, Kim Ho-jeong


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