News in Brief: Korean court upholds Shin’s sentence

A South Korean appellate court last month upheld the jail sentence of Shin Jeong-ah, the former Korean art history professor who faked a Yale doctorate degree.

“Shin’s allegation that she earned a doctorate degree in the United States proved false,” wrote the court, according to The Korea Times. The 36-year-old Shin will now serve 18 months in prison.

The ruling on July 22 came one year after Shin was fired from Dongguk University after her supposed doctorate was revealed to be fake, a secret she had managed to keep as she used the degree to fuel her ascension to the apex of the Korean art world.

Yale now faces a $50 million lawsuit from Dongguk, which alleges negligence on the part of the University for an administrative error. In 2005, Shin forged a letter from an official in the Yale Graduate School that documented her degree; when Dongguk officials contacted Yale to authenticate that letter, Yale administrators errantly vouched for it.

When the scandal broke last summer, Yale officials asserted they had never verified that Shin had graduated from the University. But a few months later, they realized they had indeed confirmed Shin had received a Yale doctorate — though only because of what they called an administrative error — and apologized to Dongguk.

That was not enough for the Korean university, which in March sued Yale in federal court for $50 million in damages. University officials have since said they would ask for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

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