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Professor takes life over allegations

Dec 26,2018
After a professor at a private arts university in North Gyeongsang committed suicide on Saturday, his colleagues called on the Ministry of Education to investigate executives of the university who allegedly drove the professor to take his life through false bribery accusations.

The professor, 56, taught design at the university. He was found dead in a hallway in a university building on Saturday.

“The university used an anonymous letter as evidence against me and asked the prosecutors to investigate,” he wrote in a note. “The accusations are groundless and there is no evidence, but I cannot forgive them for what they did … I think it’s because I voted against the university president recently.”

The president is accused by some professors of corruption in his administration, including in hiring.

An association of 20 professors at the university held a vote of no confidence against the president in October. The design professor who committed suicide participated in the vote.

He had also requested that the university internally investigate the president regarding the alleged corrupt practices, according to the association.

The association of professors said that the university asked the prosecution to probe the professor over his alleged acceptance of bribes related to an academic competition.

The professor was found not guilty.

An association at the university and the Korea Association of University Professors (KAUP) asked the Ministry of Education to investigate the case.

“We will fight to defend the name and honor of the professor,” the university’s professor association said in a statement. “We won’t give up until the president and his confidants are ousted.”

Members of the association and KAUP plan to visit the Education Ministry on Friday.

“The association of professors at the university has accused the university administration of corrupt and dictatorial practices and wrongfully accused professors,” the KAUP said in a written statement on Monday. “The case now involves a tragic death of an innocent professor. The Ministry of Education must inspect the university and its foundation and announce the results publicly.”

Staff at the university’s administrative office were not available for comment on Monday. The university’s president reportedly has not been seen in his office for about a month.

BY KIM YOUN-HO, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]