The Ministry of Education made a request to prosecutors for an investigation regarding the recent scandal at Seoul University of Science and Technology, where a child of a faculty member is suspected to have received a favor for academic affairs. Professor A, who is the parent of the student, is suspected of having manipulated admissions, grading standards, scholarship standards, and graduate school admissions. The ministry has investigated the affair by forming a special team, which has revealed that there was unfair intervention by the faculty in the process.
Regarding the admission of the student, the investigation first revealed that there were some flaws in the procedure but could not confirm any evidence of intervention. Professor A did not voluntarily report to the school that there was an examinee who was a family member for the purpose of excluding those faculty members from the admission process. This is a violation of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, which requires the faculty of national universities to report to the institution if they have a family member involved in their tasks. Moreover, during the admission interview, the interviewer of the student, who is a colleague of the suspected professor, only recorded the total score for the interview and did not grade the specific sections mentioned in the grade sheet. Regarding the suspicion of the grading standards, the investigation team could not confirm the standard to be illegal since the school is allowed to autonomously legislate its policy on limiting students who take their parents’ classes. The school did not regulate any acts as there was no legal basis to punish the professor and the student. Also, as Professor A was entirely responsible for the procedure of the exam, the team could not confirm the grade of the student to be illicit due to the limitation of administrative investigation. However, they confirmed a statement from the professor’s colleagues, which said that the professor took over the class of his colleague for only one semester when his child registered for the class and received an A+.
After such flaws in the current policy were revealed and were criticized as a university version of the Sookmyung Girls’ High School’s recent scandal, the ministry announced a complete enumeration of the academic management of all four-year universities in Seoul. The ministry also plans to encourage schools to instate regulations that prevent students from taking their parents’ class and obligate the faculty to inform the school if their children are taking their classes. In the case of Ewha, the Office of Admission receives reports from the faculty on whether their children are applying for the school that year in March. However, the Registrar said that there is no limitation for undergraduate students who want to take classes taught by their parents. On the other hand, graduate schools have a rule that excludes a student’s relatives from serving as an academic adviser for thesis or dissertation writing.