Arts college to launch reporting site

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Arts college to launch reporting site

As part of efforts to root out admissions fraud, the Korean National University of Arts (KNUA) said yesterday that it will launch an online reporting center where basically anyone can report corrupt practices involving school faculty members, including professors.

Those found to have violated the reporting center’s standards will be permanently excluded from becoming a member of the school’s evaluation committee for new students.

The stricter measures, announced by the KNUA yesterday, come after the school was allegedly involved in an admissions fraud scandal last week. A 44-year-old upright-bass professor surnamed Lee from KNUA was found to have given private lessons for cash to aspiring music majors in return for admission.

On Sunday, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency requested an arrest warrant for Lee for allegedly receiving 40 million won ($35,000) in total from 13 students preparing for college admissions from 2006 to 2011.

It is illegal for national university professors to offer private lessons. The professor also gave privately tutored students the highest scores on the entrance exams while giving lower scores to other students. According to the police, the professor also allegedly demanded some of his students buy the costly upright bass from a specific instrument company and in return received 10 percent of the sales from the company’s president. In total, he earned 13.5 million won.

“I apologize to the people for causing concerns over what happened recently at our university, which should be selecting students based on objectivity,” said Park Jong-won, president of KNUA, in a press briefing yesterday at the school in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.

Park introduced other measures to prevent further admissions fraud from happening at the school.

Based on its announced plans, the school will apply stricter standards when selecting members for its admissions committee.

Currently, professors that are immediate family up to first cousins of test takers are banned from participating in all exam screenings.

The school has expanded its limit, however, to also include those professors with private teaching experience in the past. The school also plans on video recording all performance tests in order to prevent members of the admissions committee from exchanging their opinions before giving final grades. It will also request all students applying to KNUA to hand in a signed written oath promising that they have not received any illegal private tutoring or lessons.

“We will try to proceed with legal changes of the announced measures as soon as possible,” Park said.

As for Professor Lee and the students who were involved in the admissions fraud, Park said, “The school will take heavy disciplinary measures [on the professor] and cancel admissions [for involved students] after investigation results are officially notified by the police.”

By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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