U.S. judge dismisses suit by Dongguk against Yale

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U.S. judge dismisses suit by Dongguk against Yale

After a four-year legal battle, a U.S. federal judge dismissed Dongguk University’s defamation lawsuit against Yale University.

Dongguk University, a Buddhist-affiliated school in Seoul, revealed on Monday that the Connecticut judge last Friday dismissed its allegations of defamation and negligence stating there was insufficient evidence to prove malice on Yale’s part. In a previous ruling in February, the same judge denied Yale’s request to dismiss allegations of defamation and negligence.

Dongguk University in 2008 filed a civil lawsuit with the Connecticut District Court against Yale, seeking at least $50 million in compensation, claiming that Yale tarnished its reputation and cost it that amount in government grants and alumni donations.

Yale wrongly confirmed Shin Jeong-ah, an associate art history professor Dongguk hired in 2005, held a doctorate from the Ivy League school, and only years later admitted the mistake and vowed to tighten its degree verification process.

As the controversy over Shin’s degree brewed in the Korean media in 2007, Yale then verified that Shin’s degree was forged. It also denied that it had initially confirmed Shin’s degree in 2005.

Shin, amid a highly publicized affair with former Blue House chief policy maker Byeon Yang-kyoon, was sentenced to 18 months in Korean jail in March 2008 for using fake Yale credentials to get the professor’s job at Dongguk and for embezzling museum funds from Sungkok Art Museum.

She also faked degrees from the University of Kansas to get the professorship in 2005. Yale admitted to the blunder as an administrative error in late 2007 and apologized, but Dongguk claimed it was too late to save the school’s reputation.

By Sarah Kim, Han Yeong-ik [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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