The president of Ewha Womans University stepped down Tuesday amid snowballing allegations the school offered preferential treatment to the daughter of President Park Geun-hye’s close friend.
(Photo byLim Jee-song)
“I decided to resign from the post in hope that members of the university continue to uphold the beautiful Ewha spirit of trust and harmony without being divided anymore,” she said in a statement.
The pressure on Choi to step down intensified after allegations surfaced that Jeong Yoo-ra, daughter of Park’s long-term friend Choi Soon-sil, received special favors in the admission process and for her academic records at the nation’s longest-running women’s university.
Ewha Woman‘s University students crowd the campus in Seoul on Wendesday after the school‘s president Choi Kyung-hee announced her resignation from the post. (Photo by Lim Jee-song)
“I can say for sure that there was no special treatment for the student in accepting her into the school and giving her grades, and it is not possible for such a case to take place (at this school),” she said. “The school will prevent such allegations from surfacing again by more systemically and strictly managing academic records of athlete students.”
Jeong, whose father is President Park’s ex-aide Jeong Yun-hoe, has been accused of entering the prestigious university on the back of her mother’s influence and receiving good grades despite long absences from the school and submission of assignments past deadlines.
Students of Ewha Womans University stand in protest at the school campus in Seoul on Oct. 17, demanding that university chief Choi Kyung-hee resign.(Yonhap)
Jeong’s mother Choi is suspected to be a political bigwig peddling influence in state affairs behind the scene. Choi is the daughter of Choi Tae-min, the late pastor who is said to have served as a mentor for President Park.
The scandal erupted at a time when the school and its president were reeling from a bitter confrontation with students who opposed the president’s now-aborted plan to set up a state-funded college of continuing education for working women.
They have staged the sit-in since July 28, demanding Choi’s resignation, continuing it even after she decided to withdraw the plan on Aug. 3.
The students ended the protest after the announcement of her departure.
The resignation came an hour before the university professors were set to hold a rally in front of the main hall of the university to call for Choi’s ouster in the afternoon.
“If allegations that Jeong received special treatment in the admission process and the school changed the policy to protect her from the crisis are proven true, it would pose a threat to the foundation of the university,” said the professors. “We are really sorry that we did not stand up for the students earlier. We promise to fight on behalf of our students from now on. Students sacrificed too much in this lonely fight.”
By Ock Hyun-ju (firstname.lastname@example.org)