[Letter to the editor]Fakes on campus
It’s March and the start of a new semester. College students are paying more expensive tuition and are still taking courses taught by some professors who got fake degrees overseas. Even though the Korean government announced a thorough investigation last year after Shin Jeong-ah’s fake Yale University degree scandal roiled Korea last summer, the investigation did not produce satisfactory and convincing results.
As a result, many professors who obtained fake degrees are still teaching college students in campuses unchallenged and unhindered. In addition, it was shocking when a court concluded that professors and instructors who earned doctorate degrees without completing regular courses were found innocent last month.
In Korea, there are various kinds of bogus professors and instructors. Some got diploma brokers to buy degrees from nonexistent universities. Some professors received master’s and doctorate degrees from unaccredited universities overseas. Still others received diplomas or certificates although they didn’t complete regular courses. According to the Incheon City government, nine university professors who bought fake degrees from a broker don’t know the English name of their graduation thesis.
How can these unqualified professors and instructors teach college students? How can they fulfill their responsibilities, such as research and volunteer work, as educators? How can they be free from any sense of guilt?
I am really worried about their future and ours. I urge all of them to reflect on their conduct and leave their positions.
Seo Seung-jik, Inha University
Giving Caesar his due
Controversy over religious clerics’ obligation to pay taxes is still hot in Korea. Some people don’t agree that ministers have such an obligation; I think they have to pay taxes just like other workers, because they earn income from their religious organization.
Of the 30 OECD member states, all except South Korea require religious clerics, who are classified as laborers, to pay taxes.
If the Korean government decides to levy an income tax on religious ministers, it has to first set up tax rates based on the ministers’ income. The reason is that some religious clerics earn big money from their congregations while others make little money. Enacting a special tax law for ministers is another good idea.
Bae Won-gi, certificated public account
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