PNU cancels Cho Kuk's daughter's admission
Cho Min, who was admitted to the university’s graduate medical school in 2015, has been under investigation since August.
The final decision to revoke her admission was made by the university’s academic council on Wednesday afternoon.
Cho’s admission to medical school, and earlier to Korea University for a bachelor’s degree, became the center of controversy when her father, Blue House senior secretary for civil affairs, was nominated by President Moon Jae-in to head the Justice Ministry in August 2019.
During the nomination process, a probe by state prosecutors – led by Prosecutor-General Yoon Suk-yeol, who is now Korea's president-elect – uncovered Cho and his wife’s involvement in the falsification of academic credentials cited in Cho Min’s successful applications to Korea University and PNU.
One of the main credentials found to have been falsified through the couple’s involvement was an advanced pathology research paper published in an international medical journal, entitled “eNos Gene Polymorphisms in Perinatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy,” in which Cho was listed as a co-author even though she was a high school student at the time it was written.
The paper was later retracted due to violation of ethical guidelines.
PNU’s decision to rescind Cho’s admission adds pressure on Korea University to cancel her 2010 undergraduate admission.
In January, the Supreme Court upheld rulings by lower courts that Cho’s mother Chung Kyung-sim had fabricated documents and obstructed the admission process of Korea University and two medical schools, including PNU. She was sentenced to four years in prison.
PNU faced criticism for the time it took to revoke Cho’s admission, with some observers saying the university prolonged the process for fear of provoking the ire of Moon’s liberal Democratic Party (DP) ahead of the presidential election.
The university claimed its decision to rescind Cho’s admission took a long time because she had already graduated and the cancellation of her degree would derail her career.
“If you cancel the admission of a student who has already graduated, the person in question will face severe consequences, and we have been agonizing over it,” said a PNU official who spoke to the JoongAng Ilbo on condition of anonymity. “However, since the admission requirements of the university represent a public promise, the university decided it was more important to abide by these above all other considerations.”
The cancellation of Cho’s admission to medical school is expected to also lead to the revocation of her doctor's license, a process overseen by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. That procedure can take longer than a month.
Cho is expected to fight the cancellation of her medical license by filing an injunction through an administrative court, according to a press statement released by her father on Wednesday. She will retain her medical license until a final court decision has been made, which may take up to three years.
BY MICHAEL LEE [email@example.com]