Sookmyung students rail against foundationShocked by an exclusive report by the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday that the Sookmyung Women’s University’s Foundation cooked their books to the tune of 68.5 billion won ($61.3 million) for over a decade, the university’s student body issued an announcement condemning the foundation yesterday morning.
According to the report, the university received a total of 68.5 billion won in donations between 1995 and 2009, but the foundation transferred the donated money to its own account before routing it back to the university’s operational accounts to make it look like the money was coming from the foundation, in an attempt to receive a favorable rating when the government evaluated the university foundations.
In Korea, private foundations of universities provide their schools with billions of won per year from their own budget for school operations. The donation budget is separate from that of the foundation budget.
If the government judges that the financial health of a university foundation is not up to standard, the foundation is shut down by law.
The university’s student council wrote in their statement that they were “shocked and disappointed by the foundation for completely deceiving everyone.”
The statement also read, “The foundation that made a mockery of good donators must not only apologize for their wrongdoings but also take responsibility behaviorally.” It continued by saying that “if such ambiguous financial operations were for its own interest, we will no longer be able to acknowledge such a foundation which is full of corruption.”
The student council will hold a press conference to publicly condemn the university’s foundation at its campus in Yongsan District, central Seoul.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology also launched an investigation concerning the account juggling of the foundation.
Kim Eung-kwon, an official at the Education Ministry said, “Although [account juggling] is not technically against the law, it is an unscrupulous behavior that deserves fierce criticism.”
The official added, “After a thorough fact-finding investigation, [the ministry] will make efforts to make institutional improvements.”
By Yoon Seok-man [firstname.lastname@example.org]