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SNU faces backlash over new president

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Published : 2014-07-09 21:10
Updated : 2014-07-09 21:10

Professors at Seoul National University on Tuesday protested the school’s recent appointment of a new president, and urged the board of directors to reveal the selection process.

The Association of SNU Professors said if the board turns down their requests, they will hold an emergency meeting to discuss follow-up measures. It would be the first such meeting in 27 years.

If the professors decide to push ahead with the meeting, it will be held on July 16.

The teaching staff at SNU have been raising questions about the school’s president-elect Sung Nak-in. Sung, of the SNU School of Law, took second place in the screening process by the professors but was ultimately chosen to head the university.

Oh Se-jung, a professor of physics, was the top candidate from the professors.

Faculty members from the departments of humanities, social science and natural science held a joint press conference and urged the board of directors to step down.

“The board’s decision ignored the assessment of the SNU members, and effectively brought down the most important value in the university,” they said. “We are not only angry at this unthinkable move, but cannot help but wonder if some other factors ― such as pressure from outsiders ― were applied in their decision.”

A total of 165 professors signed a petition supporting the joint statement.

While the faculty members do not have the authority to override the board’s decision, their collective actions are expected to put pressure on the new president.

In a survey of 1,000 SNU professors, 55 percent said the incumbent President Oh Yeon-cheon should take responsibility for the situation and step down. About 67 percent said that the entire board of directors should quit with him.

Only 5 percent said they were satisfied with the selection process for the new president, which was conducted via an anonymous vote.

If the appointment of the SNU chief-elect Sung is recommended by the education minister and finalized by President Park Geun-hye, he will start his four-year term on July 20.

By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)

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