Seoul National University began procedures yesterday to officially punish Hwang Woo-suk and six other professors of the university involved in fabricating data on academic articles that falsely reported breakthroughs in stem cell technology.
President Chung Un-chan referred the professors to the university¡¯s disciplinary committee yesterday, ordering ¡°heavy punishment¡± for all seven. According to laws for public servants, this means dismissal or suspension. The six professors are Lee Byung-cheon, Kang Sung-keun, Lee Chang-kyu, Moon Shin-yong, Ahn Cu-rie, and Paek Sun-ha ¡ª all listed as co-authors of both the 2004 and 2005 articles now retracted from the U.S. journal Science.
Mr. Chung also stripped Dr. Hwang of his ¡°distinguished professor¡± title. In September 2004, Dr. Hwang was named the first distinguished professor of Seoul National University, which enabled him to maintain his post until retirement. Regulations on the conditions of the title state that the president has the authority for ¡°adjustment¡± in situations of improper conduct.
The university¡¯s disciplinary committee, composed of nine professors and headed by Lee Ho-im, the vice president, will meet on Thursday to discuss what measures to take and will give the professors a chance to defend themselves.
¡°The committee is supposed to report its decision within 90 days of the president¡¯s order, but since the school¡¯s investigative panel has already revealed the professors¡¯ roles, it probably won¡¯t take that long,¡± a university official said. ¡°Most likely they will come to a decision by the middle of next month.¡±
by Park Sung-woo