Kaist adds 4 new board members; Suh stays on

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Kaist adds 4 new board members; Suh stays on

Four new members were voted to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology board of directors yesterday, but the school’s 76-year-old president Suh Nam-pyo, who faced a tumultuous year with the controversy over four student suicides, will keep his position - for the time being.

Many eyes were fixated on Kaist’s board of directors meeting held at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Jung District, central Seoul, yesterday because four members that had been Suh supporters on the 16-member board were replaced, which could determine whether the board will have enough votes to dismiss Suh from office.

The chairman of the Kaist board of directors, Oh Myung, 72, had conveyed to Suh on multiple counts that he should resign, according to Suh in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo last month.

Suh has also been backed into a corner at the university, where 75.5 percent of the Kaist faculty association voted to request his formal resignation.

Previously, members of the Kaist board of directors were unofficially nominated by the president and approved by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, but under Oh’s request, this time around members of the board were nominated by board members themselves.

But Oh stated yesterday that they “don’t have intentions to make President Suh resign midway” and that they will “help President Suh as much as he puts an active effort to regain leadership by communicating with the professors and students.”

The four new members selected for three-year terms yesterday to replace the previous four members who had been Suh-supporters were: Kim Choon-ho, 55, president of the State University of New York in Korea; Chung Kil-Seang, 71, president of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology; Kwak Jae-won, 58, vice-president of the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies and Kim Young-gil, 73, president of Handong Global University.

Eight votes out of the total sixteen members are needed in order to dismiss Suh. In April, three more members of the board are up for replacement, and there is speculation that if at this time supporters of Oh are selected, there might be movement for dismissal again, said a Kaist spokesman.

By Kim Bang-hyun, Lee Han-gil [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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