[EDITORIALS]Professors not professionalAs a protest against the school’s decision to hire back an art professor it fired years ago, a group of Seoul National University fine art professors have submitted their resignations asking the school administration not to hire Kim Min-soo, also an art professor.
For six years, Mr. Kim and Seoul National University have been involved in a lawsuit whether the school’s decision to discharge him was justified. But the conflict grew to an emotional fight between them.
The school said that Mr. Kim’s “low-quality research” was the reason why the school did not renew his contract. But at the end of last month, Seoul High Court said that it was, in fact, good enough to fulfill his contract renewal qualifications.
Seoul National said it would not appeal, so there should not be any problem legally that Mr. Kim is hired again. But the resignations of the art professors come as a kind of a protest or even a threat to the school. The school will soon make a final decision whether to rehire Mr. Kim at its personnel meeting.
We would like to point out that the collective actions from these professors were not very professional. A few of Mr. Kim’s actions may have been errant enough to irritate the professors. But the judiciary has already made the decision.
Even if Mr. Kim was showing attitudes that other professors did not like, an academic circle should be open and generous enough to accept different ideas. Without such generosity, it would be hard to maintain a variety of academic and artistic ideas in schools.
The idea of a group resignation is not professional. Expressing their ideas through such measures will not persuade anyone.
But Mr. Kim’s actions were not very professional either. He said the professors were now leading a “last-ditch fight” when he heard the news that they will resign collectively.
It is deplorable to think that the level of intellect and culture of professors at Seoul National University falls so short. How can we expect the academic field to develop when the environment is this unintellectual?
We cannot expect professors to act like saints. But they have to be open-minded and accept different ideas.
This case is nothing more than some professors who have chosen to make themselves look like fools. They should remember that curses, like chickens, come home to roost.