Court vindicates students rejected by Korea Univ.

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Court vindicates students rejected by Korea Univ.

Students who failed to gain admission to Korea University won a class-action suit yesterday when a court agreed that their applications were stronger than other students who got in.

The Changwon District Court in South Gyeongsang said the university had illegally curved grades up for students from more prestigious schools, putting the 24 students from less prestigious schools at a disadvantage. It ordered Korea University to compensate each student 7 million won ($6,018).

“We cannot accept the decision,” the university said. “Once we get the official result of the suit, we will appeal the sentence right away.”

The 24 students claimed in their suit that they failed to get admission to the university in October 2008 even though their grades and test scores were better than applicants from “special purpose schools,” such as foreign language high schools or science high schools.

“Korea University used unreasonable and incomprehensible methods when calculating the marks of students, resulting in losing students with better grades than others,” the students’ parents said when the lawsuit was filed.

The students applied for “nonscheduled admission,” in which the university weighed the applicant’s academic performance for 90 percent of its evaluation, and then took into account an interview and the applicant’s extracurricular activities.

The court said it confirmed that the university curved up its evaluation of applicants from better schools, a system called “grading high schools,” which has been illegal since 2008.

“We confirmed that Korea University rescored the marks of the ordinary school’s students after comparing those of students from prestigious schools,” the court said.

“The university deliberately graded high schools to select more students from prestigious schools,” the court said in its judgement.

Some special purpose high schools have argued that they need the “grading system” by universities because the quality of their schools is higher, and competition fiercer, so the grades earned by talented students are usually lower than those earned by ordinary students in less competitive schools.

Last year, some lawyers and parents of students who were suspicious of the university’s admissions methods formed a committee called “Supporters for the lawsuit against Korea University.”

“The sentence is meaningful in that the court stopped the dictatorship of the university in selecting students as per their taste,” said Park Jong-hun, the leader of the committee.


By Hwang Sun-yoon, Kim Sung-tak [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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