Members from BtoB and Highlight are under increased scrutiny and may even have their credits at Dongshin University revoked in light of the report.
On Monday, the Ministry of Education announced the results of an investigation of academic irregularities at several different universities at the first meeting of the Council on the Restoration of Educational Trust. The results of the investigation are troubling, to say the least, and points at larger systemic issues with these institutions.
The Ministry discovered various irregularities at many different universities. In particular, Dongshin University where Highlight’s (formerly B2ST) Yoon Doo-joon, Lee Gi-kwang, Yong Jun-hyung, former B2ST member Jang Hyun-seung, BtoB members Sung-jae and Seo Eun-kwang earned credits and degrees.
Last August, SBS’ “8 o’clock News” reported that Dongshin University, located in n Naju, South Jeolla Province, offered special favors to idols and public officials. Once such favor included giving the idols above four-year scholarships and convenient attendance to suit their schedule.
Reportedly, the university bestowed these privileges to the idols even when they had below-standard academic performance. In a follow-up report, the news program hypothesized that the university did so to meet state-mandated quotas for new admissions to get a financial subsidy from the government. Additionally, it was said that having K-pop idols at the university would play a part in increasing the reputation and desirability of the school.
At that time, BtoB’s agency Cube Entertainment and Jang Hyun-seung’s current management denied the allegations. Cube Entertainment released a statement saying that they are trying to “understand the exact situation” and were reaching out to employees who worked with the singers at the time.
Likewise, Highlight’s agency Around Us Entertainment also denied the claims the program made. The agency said that the members attended classes as regularly as they could by would request to take tests at different times due to their schedules. However, they were all taken at university-sanctioned times.
Unfortunately, the Ministry’s investigation proved otherwise and demanded that the idols’ credits and degree be revoked.
It said that “the school gave me credit and scholarship despite the fact that Yoon Doo-joon, Lee Gi-kwang, Yong Joon-hyung, Jang Hyun-seung, Sung-jae, and Seo Eun-kwang did not attend the class properly.”
In response Dongshin University said that they, like other colleges, “granted academic credits and degrees in accordance with school rules and department regulations” but there were some flaws. Moreover, they will review measures to protect graduates who earned credits and degrees as much as it can. With that in mind, it will also work to establish “supplementary measures” such as regulations to ensure more thorough academic management in the future.
The public’s response to the investigation’s findings and the school’s response have been negative. Some expressed outrage at the university saying that despite the fact the school used the celebrity status of the idols to promote itself, the stars’ reputation is being damaged. Others are confused with Sung-jae is being mentioned and criticized even though he has not earned his degree yet.
Meanwhile, Yoon Doo-joon, Jang Hyun-seung, and Seo Eun-kwang are currently serving in the military. Lee Gi-kwang and Yong Joon-hyung are waiting to join the enlist soon while Sung-jae will star in the tVN drama “Man Who Bakes Bread.”
Translated by O.C