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SNU mulls in-house human rights panel

Move follows dismissal of professor for abusing students


Seoul National University is considering establishing an in-house human rights watchdog to monitor abuses within the community including violence, corruption and embezzlement.

Students will be encouraged to inform the school of their professors’ irregularities under a tight witness protection system and violence among students will be thoroughly investigated.

“The school’s already-existent Center for Sexual Assault Prevention will be expanded to the human rights committee that deals with secretly-committed corporal punishment, sexual assaults and harassment as well as teacher and staff embezzlement, corruption and other things,” an SNU official said Thursday. The committee will be entitled to scrutinize human rights infringements involving all members of the school including foreigners and disabled people, he said.

The university hopes the committee will also be able to root out some professors’ embezzlement of research funds. It hopes students, who are under the strong influence of their teachers even after graduation, will be able to give information without fear.

“Since it is not a police investigation, the whistleblower will be less stressed to reveal the truth,” the school official said.

The establishment comes just days after SNU professor and renowned soprano Kim In-hei was dismissed for having assaulted her pupils.

Her students and colleagues claimed that Kim had regularly abused the aspiring singers both verbally and physically. Kim allegedly compelled her students to buy her concert tickets and offer her bribes. She made them attend expensive overseas camps and sing at her mother-in-law’s birthday party, it was claimed.

Kim was also accused of having manipulated class registers to conceal her missing classes. Her daughter had also alleged to have used the school’s not-for-rent concert hall to prepare for her university entrance examination.

The SNU on Monday decided to dismiss Kim.

Kim said that many of the allegations were exaggerated or fabricated completely. She said Thursday she will file a suit against the school for not giving her adequate opportunity to explain each individual accusation.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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