A top official of the Lingnan University has applied for indefinite leave following a scandal revealing that he was running a suspected “diploma mill” selling illegitimate degrees from overseas.
Alex Lee Ye-lick, a member of the Lingnan University Council, is also the supervisor and principal of the Lifelong College, which partners with Tarlac State University and Bulacan State University of the Philippines in running remote doctoral degree programmes.
According to Apple Daily, Lee instructed his employees to be “flexible”: besides falsifying documents such as attendance records and review forms, they should also arrange for the “backdating” of students’ commencement dates, enabling clients to expedite their degrees for a fee of HK$2,000.
Following the scandal, Lee applied to the Council for indefinite leave on Tuesday, in order to focus his time on handling the recent media reports about him. If his application were accepted, it would go into effect immediately, until further notice, Apple Daily reported.
Council chairman Rex Auyeung Pak-kuen said after a congregation ceremony on Tuesday that the leave application would very likely be accepted. Auyeung did not confirm when it can be handled, only that it would be dealt with as soon as possible. The Council will meet in mid-January.
Auyeung also said that Lifelong College was not related to Lingnan and that the scandal was an “unhappy incident.”
Katherine Ko, external vice-president of Lingnan’s student union, told the newspaper that Alex Lee should be suspended and investigated by a committee.
“When students do something that hurt Lingnan’s reputation, they will be investigated by the Student Disciplinary Committee.”
As well as Alex Lee, three other directors of the Lifelong College are also members of the Lingnan University Court.
Ko added that the three other members of the Court should be suspended as well.
Meanwhile, Associate Vice President Herdip Singh resigned from his position on November 14, effective immediately, following a plagiarism scandal over his doctoral thesis, submitted to Tarlac State University in 2013.
Lingnan University President Leonard Cheng Kwok-Hon told the newspaper that Singh has apologised to the school and the school will not investigate the scandal further. He said that Singh has been working in the university for 30 years, “it was a big punishment” for him to take the responsibility and resign.
Auyeung said that Singh was an executive and not a teacher, so his plagiarism scandal did not mean the school had made a mistake in recruiting teaching staff.