The Law on the Prevention of Illicit Soliciting and Bribery (so called Kim Young-ran Act) was enacted September 28, 2016. This law punishes officials, such as public officials, journalists, and teachers, who get more than 1 million won from another person regardless of whether the money was related to an official's duty or position, or whether favors were given in return. Also, one can be punished unconditionally if it is recognized that ‘the money was related to an offical’s duties’ or ‘favors were given in return’. However, the extent to which the task is connected and acted as a bribe depends on situations and locations. Therefore, it is important to know the scope of laws and regulations that students must uphold in school which should be kept intact because they are different from the laws that must be kept in positions like employees and civil servants.
In fact, the National Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission is restricting the scope of the law as it applies to students by offering them ‘Question and Answer Cases about the law of anti-graft - seven examples for students’. The first is about the ‘proof of employment’ which is most frequently enforced in colleges nowadays. According to the law, ‘students are not subject to fines in case they ask to raise their grades. However, professors who raise students’ grades would be subject to criminal punishments. In other words, if a professor accepts all of a student’s attendance or replaces the exam as a report by writing ‘certification of employment’, in the situation where the student is graduating, it could be a punishable criminal offense if it is judged that there was a cheating process between the professor and the student.
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The second is ‘indirect entertainment’; when a student provides a professor with travel expenses, room charges, or food expenses. It is necessary to examine whether there was a direct exchange between professors and students. For example, if a graduate student treats a professor who has finished directing his thesis, no deal must be made because the professor and the student involved in the interests of the thesis. Also, one day after the final exam, students at D University planned a trip to Jeju Island with Professor B, and students tried to pay more for professor B’s travel expenses. However, it is also included as a violation of the law, as the students at D University are either taking lectures or may take courses of Professor B.
The last one is about ‘direct entertainment’. It is a typical example of parents or students give money and gift to their professors. In such cases, ‘task associations’ is recognized regardless of the price which means they could be punished by law. However, it is not included in the law in case school organizations, such as the student council, have sponsored the event and earned some amount of money from the company. That means the student council would not be penalized even if they did not record their sponsor’s expenses in their accounting books, and that they cannot be punished, at least not by the anti-graft law.
If you want to know more about this law, please click the 'Request NO' Icon on the Gachon University’s website or refer to the National Emergency Management Information Center’s Website (www.law.go.kr). Like the phrase, ‘Knowledge is power’, would the world become a little cleaner if we cared about the newly-born law?