Parade of denialsThe honor and pride of a 130-year-old prestigious private university didn’t show. Choi Kyung-hee, former president of Ewha Womans University, Kim Kyung-sook, former dean of its College of Science and Industry Convergence, and Namkung Gon, former chief admissions officer, were all brazen enough to deny all the charges that had been confirmed through the Ministry of Education’s investigation of a corruption case involving the illegitimate admission of Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of the unprecedented abuse of power scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.
We are amazed at the way the witnesses reacted to lawmakers’ interrogations at Thursday’s hearing. They were hell bent on defending themselves and not taking any responsibility for their shady actions a year ago. The hearing has raised serious questions about the extension of corruption in education circles.
The full scope of the admission scam involving Choi and her daughter Chung has yet to be found. Former president Choi’s testimony was that she met Choi Soon-sil twice: when she dropped by the university last year and when she brought her daughter to her office earlier this year. The president said she did not offer or give any advantages as she did not know the women. Former chief admissions officer Namkung Gon said that he did not order the admission of Chung, who brought to an admission interview a gold medal she won in an equestrian sport event in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Namkung’s testimony was a flat denial of a university official’s statement that he received an order from Namkung to admit the applicant with the medal to the school.
The testimony by the former dean of the College of Science and Industry Convergence, Kim Kyung-sook, was even more incredible. She not only denied the chief admission officer’s testimony that he learned from her about an order for Chung’s admission, but also denied the college’s involvement in offering Chung special treatment in terms of grades. We are disappointed that the hearing could not pin down a systematic cover-up, not to mention the Blue House’s role.
The university has tarnished its reputation seriously. Nevertheless, all witnesses from the school consistently denied the findings of the education ministry’s investigation. Chung posted a message on social media that read, “As money counts most, you should blame your parents if they are not rich!” These witnesses must leave the school if they have any conscience.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 16, Page 34