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A Divided Kyonggi University

Posted September. 02, 2005 07:16,   


Kyonggi University, with a temporary board of directors since December 2004, has been undergoing a severe internal conflict. The university’s labor union disclosed the details where the school foundation diverted funds to other purposes, leading five directors and auditors including the chief director to step down, and the professors lodged a claim calling for nullifying the selection of the president of the university.

Moreover, the university’s students’ association and the Minju alumni association sided with the foundation, worsening the situation at Kyonggi University into a situation of internal strife.

Resignation of the Directors-

On September 1, Kyonggi University said that the labor union suggested on August 17, “The university foundation paid a salary worth about 45 million won for the foundation’s general director dispatched from the university with the school budget, not with the foundation’s budget. The foundation also borrowed 0.2 billion won without the approval of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development and spent about 99 million won in paying salaries of the staff and subsidies for vehicle maintenance.”

In response, one of the seven directors of the board, Lee Chang-bok, a chairman of the ruling Uri Party’s Wonju district, Gangwon Province, submitted a resignation letter to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development on the following day, and other directors, including Lee Sang-cheol, a former minister of Information and Communication, Park Byeong-seop, a president of Sangji University, Ahn Byeong-wook, a professor at Catholic University and the auditor Lee Ki-wook, a vice-president of the lawyers’ association for the democratic society also submitted their resignation letters on August 26.

Director Lee was reported to have said, “I cannot continue to do my task under a system where the board of directors is not able to conduct decision-making on such matters as personnel management.”

The foundation refuted the labor union’s assertion and explained, “It was an administrative mistake caused by a change in the staff of the foundation, and the new staff was not familiar with the related regulations. The borrowed money will be paid back as early as possible.”

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development said, “What the union suggested is true and the ministry gave a warning to director Lee because any additional borrowing of the foundation should be carried out with the ministry’s approval.”

Meanwhile, the students’ association held a rally in front of the Government Central complex’s back gate on Sejongno at 2 p.m. on the same day and stated, “The labor union is making a false claim by mentioning survival rights for all employees in order to protect some corrupt employees. We will not just sit and watch the union’s calls for the resignation of reform-minded directors because of a minimal administrative mistake.”

They also called for President Lee Tae-il to step down, saying, “If the president is not committed to reforms and looks the other way, other members will make a decision.”

Calls for Nullifying the Selection of the President-

Jo Byeong-su, a construction and engineering professor, and Ryu Jae-gap, an international studies professor, filed a claim against Director Lee calling for the nullification of the selection of the president with the Seoul Administration Court on August 24.

They insisted, “It is an infringement of professors’ official duty rights that the recommendation committee for candidates for the job of university president limited requirements for the candidates to outside figures. And the qualifications for executives of private school number are more than seven, so it is illegal for the university’s board of directors with only six directors to select a president.”

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com