Student Who Reported Corruption At School Of Performing Arts Seoul (SOPA) Receives Award

Student Baek Min Sung from School of Performing Arts Seoul (SOPA) received an award from the Office of Education for his aid in uncovering corruption at the school.

The matter became widely known in February this year, when a video of SOPA students singing of injustices they faced while attending the prestigious arts school went viral. The students sang of being forced to perform at events outside of school, being forced to pay out-of-pocket for various expenses for private events, being asked to act sexy or to be physically affectionate, and more.

Students who came forward were sent to the school’s discipline committee, threatened over the phone, or warned of legal action.

December 26, the Seoul Office of Education held a ceremony to present Baek Min Sung and three others for their contributions. The superintendent of education said, “We’re awarding the leaders who stood against the violation of [students’] rights. We hope that they will be leaders of society in the future as well.”

Baek Min Sung first raised the issue of the SOPA president and chief of administration, a married couple, making students perform at private events in August last year.

The Seoul Office of Education then confirmed it was true and uncovered other matters of concern, as well. In January this year, the Office of Education demanded that the school expel the principal and dismiss the chief of administration. However, the demands were not met. The principal left the school in April because of term limitations, and the chief of administration remains at the school.

At the request of the Office of Education, the police that investigated the matter forwarded the principal and chief of administration to prosecutors in November for embezzlement. During investigations, suspicions were also raised regarding the principal and the vice principal’s involvement in admissions corruption.

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