SNU Files Legal Complaint for Dean Attacked by Hwang Woo-suk Supporters

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

SNU Files Legal Complaint for Dean Attacked by Hwang Woo-suk Supporters Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 24, 2006

Seoul, South Korea ( — Seoul National University officials have filed a complaint with police after angry supporters of disgraced embryonic stem cell research scientist Hwang Woo-suk assaulted the dean of research affairs. Professor Roe Jung-hye had her hair pulled out and suffered bruises on her arms from protesters grabbing at her and twisting them.

Police indicated they will start questioning people who witnesses say have engaged in more violent protests.

Because of the incident, which occurred while Roe was on her way to her office at SNU, she did not go into work yesterday.

"It is individual freedom to argue for or against the results of the school’s investigative committee, but it is difficult when they act beyond reason or rationality," Roe told the Joong Daily newspaper in Seoul.

Roe was the spokeswoman for the investigative committee that determined Hwang and his team fabricated their results of their embryonic stem cell research and never cloned a human embryo or patient-specific embryonic stem cells.

"The investigative board followed appropriate procedures and produced results that were scientifically satisfactory," she said in response to the protesters.

After the committee returned its results, SNU stripped Hwang of his title as professor of veterinary medicine and prohibited his team from conducting research there.

Hwang’s supporters continued their protests yesterday in front of the school’s main administrative building for the fourth consecutive day. They continued their claims that the investigative committee’s findings were untrue, according to Joong Daily.

"Seoul National University is run by the people’s tax money and yet they are mocking the people with false information," they shouted.

Yang Il-suk, dean of the school’s veterinary college asked them to stop but the demonstrators accused SNU of unfairly attacking Hwang.

Witnesses reported that Roe had just driven to her SNU office Wednesday morning when she came under attack. She heard someone calling her name and turned around and was confronted by a group of 10 people.

"As I passed by I looked over at those who were demonstrating, and then all of the sudden the people who had been loudly shouting out their (pro-Hwang) slogans suddenly came towards me and grabbed my hair," she told the Chosun paper.

"[T]hen the rest began to join in the violence," she added.

Some of Roe’s hair was completely pulled out and her wrists were bruised from the incident.

"I’m speechless to think that such an outrageous thing could occur," she told the Chosun.