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Tainting the University… Punish Him

Posted October. 18, 2005 06:51,   


In an awkward position resulting from successive anti-American, pro-North Korean comments by members of its faculty – Sociology professor Kang Jeong-gu and English Literature professor Jang Shi-gi – Dongguk University issued a statement on October 17 declaring that the arguments of individuals are different from the views of the university.

However, the Dongguk Alumni Association, strongly demanding disciplinary actions against professor Kang, said, “It is a statement without any content; the same as not having stated anything,” forecasting conflict with the university.

In the morning of the same day, Dongguk University held an emergency faculty meeting and issue a statement titled “For All the Dongguk-loving People” stating, “The university is a place to protect free truth-seeking, but comments by professor Kang went beyond the university’s boundaries and resulted in worsening social disputes. We cannot but be concerned how to deal with professor Kang after the authorities handle him judiciously.”

In particular, Dongguk University added, “It is dreadful that there are continuous harsh protests claiming to block the advancement of all Dongguk students by seeing them imbued with ‘anti-American pro-North Korean’ ideology or not sending their students to Dongguk University.”

The statement continued, “Due to the protests and the reproach of so many individuals and organizations, it is virtually impossible to conduct our work normally. The entire university is going through a very painful time that it is difficult to bear.”

In response, Dongguk Alumni Association Secretary Song Jae-man argued, “The protest calls by alumni expressing discontent at the statement are continuing. Since the name of the school was tainted by professor Kang’s arguments, the university should punish him as soon as possible.”

Dongguk University also announced that professor Jang, currently in Capetown University, South Africa, sent an e-mail to Dongguk University President Hong Ki-sam, apologizing for creating a social stir by publishing articles such as “Kim Il Sung is a Great Modern Leader.”

On the same day, conservative group Freedom Builders sued professor Jang at the Seoul Central Prosecutor’s officer for violating national security law.

On the other hand, in his Comparative Sociology class taught on the same day for juniors and seniors, professor Kang said, “Minister of Justice Chun Jung-bae will be written down in human right’s history for his decision (to command investigating him without detainment)”

He also said, “Since the prosecution doesn’t have anything to do, it is creating something to do. The typical government organizations that we don’t need are the Public Security Prosecution, the police, and National Intelligence Service, and since the prosecution doesn’t have anything to do with so few cases, it is expanding this issue.”

Jae-Myoung Lee egija@donga.com