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Professor commits suicide over college voting system

A professor at a Busan-based university was found dead Monday in what appears to be a suicide, after protesting the university’s decision to abolish direct election of its president.

The 54-year-old professor of Pusan National University, identified by his surname Goh, jumped from the fourth floor of a university building around 3:20 p.m. He died despite being immediately moved to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The incident came as the PNU and its faculty members are locked in a fierce battle over how to elect its next president. Previously the university’s chief was selected through a direct vote by its professors.

But earlier this month, university president Kim Ki-seob announced the system would change to an indirect election ― in which the school president-nominated committee selects the new leader ― despite protests by faculty members. Kim had previously vowed to sustain the current system.

According to eyewitnesses, Goh shouted “Keep your promise to retain the direct election system” before he jumped. Investigators found what is believed to be his suicide note, which said, “If a sacrifice is needed for true democracy, I’ll bear the weight.”

The PNU faculty carried out a protest against the school’s decision earlier in the day.

By Yoon Min-sik