An Anti-Corruption Law, also known as Kim Young-ran Law, went into effect by Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on Sept. 28. It aims to better deal with corruption, and is applied to journalists, educators in public and private sector, along with public officials.
Universities are no exception to this new law. It is applicable to all private school faculty except emeritus professors, adjunct faculty, and part-time lecturers. Thus, the Anti-Corruption Law affects university policies in many ways.
According to the Kim Young-ran Law, in case of the students employed before graduation, any act of pursuing ways to eliminate their absences in class such as taking on extra-credit work would be held illegal. Likewise, the faculty is expected to adhere to this zero-discretion policy for those who are unable to attend their courses due to employment.
Another change is that students are not able to ask professors for higher grades. Originally, giving higher grades to students within the range of allocated percentage of grades after the requests was possible. However, it is now prohibited and professors must decline such requests. If students continue to ask for grade adjustments, even after the professors’ rejection, professors are obliged to report this to the school. When professors accede to give higher grades, they are subject to punishment, while students are exempt.
Due to these changes, universities tried to inform the faculties of the new law by holding information sessions. At Ewha, sessions regarding the Anti-Corruption Law for faculties were held twice at Ewha Campus Complex on Sept. 22. The session explained overall clauses of the law, and especially those clauses that pertain to universities, and held a Q&A session.
“The new law did students a favor since they no longer have to fret about giving presents to professors,” said a faculty who attended the session. “On the other hand, it is expected that the relationship between professors and students to become a bit dry.”
At Yonsei University, the school is planning to hold its own information sessions for professors and faculties as well.
“The school is expecting some complaints from professors and faculty members of inconveniences derived from the new law,” said Son Seong-moon from Head of Ethical Management in Yonsei University. “We are going to gather opinions of school faculties and students, and then request for revisions.”
With regard to the Anti-Corruption Law and followed changes in school policies, a student from Kwangwoon University is expecting positive results of enforcement of the law.
“In Korean society, ties with school alumni or professors are important and people tend to easily do favors to others to maintain these kinds of relationships,” said Han Yi-joo. “However, there are many bribes that have been disguised under this culture. I think the law will be helpful in better dealing with illicit practices of influence peddling that are prevalent in our society.”