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    Mar 23, 2015

    No reprieve for ex-prof who mocked students' English


    A SEOUL court yesterday ruled in favour of a university's decision not to renew the contract of a foreign professor, after he was found to have ridiculed his students' English essays on social media.

    The Seoul Administrative Court recognised Ewha Womans University's refusal to re-hire its former employee last year as legal, stating that "the professor failed to maintain proper conduct as an educator".

    In September 2013, the then professor posted several remarks on his Facebook mocking grammatically awkward English phrases that his students had written in their assignments, stating that he could not "help but laugh".

    Following his initial post, the South African educator - who began teaching a general undergraduate English course at the university in 2012 - continued uploading similar posts, mocking his students' English with his friends.

    The university had claimed the incident was only one of the the man's unprofessional behaviours.

    In the past, he reportedly uploaded postings asking how to say certain English swear phrases in Korean.

    He also reportedly left the country for vacation without notifying or receiving approval from the university, failing to show up for his courses.

    The university decided not to renew his contract in February last year.

    After losing his teaching position, the man brought his case to the Appeal Commission for Teachers, which requested that the university reconsider its decision.

    The university responded by filing a lawsuit.

    The court ruled in favour of the university under the premise that the man, whose online postings had included vulgar English phrases, displayed "highly deplorable behaviour that strayed far from what is required of an educator".

    "Publicly mocking grammatical mistakes that his students made in an English course is highly condemnable behaviour unfit for an educator," the judge said.

    "The students who wrote the English essays ridiculed by the (former) professor likely suffered psychological damage, while the university sustained damage to its public image and reputation."