The Society of Ordinated Deacons of Sarang Community Church rallied on October 2 at around two o’clock at the U.S Embassy to demand the cancelation of Pastor Oh Jung Hyun’s doctorate. The demonstration started when Potchefstroom University (presently North-West University) in South Africa and Biola University in the United States did not cancel pastor Oh’s doctoral theses despite the heavy amount of plagiarism contained in them.
Pastor Oh Jung Hyun (57) of Sarang Community Church respectively obtained doctorate degrees in 1998 at Potchefstroom University and in 2005 at Biola University. However, the thesis raised suspicion of plagiarism and the church organized an internal fact-finding committee. As the report became known outside and as plagiarism issues surfaced, Sarang Community Church gave Pastor Oh the six-month disciplinary measure—a sermon suspension and a 30% honoraria pay cut.
Pastor Oh, who centers on the plagiarism, is alleged to have used Professor Michael Wilkins’s work in his Potchefstroom thesis but without proper citation. Moreover, a Korean daily newspaper reported that Oh had plagiarized his own doctorate thesis later written at Biola University, as much as 65% from his Potchefstroom thesis. It is argued that Pastor Oh managed to earn two doctorates predicated on just one thesis.
The demonstrators protested at the U.S. Embassy to publicize their position to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the U.S. Ministry of Education about universities that allow plagiarized theses . The demonstrators who protested today carried pickets and shouted “No plagiarism!”, “Cancel doctorate!”, and read a questionnaire sent to the U.S Embassy.
Park Seo Jung, president of the Society of Ordinated Deacons, says, “Biola University should strictly evaluate the thesis and cancel the paper immediately. We will continue to protest not only to Biola University but also to the university accrediting commission, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges”. The Society of Ordinated Deacons also proclaimed that they are also planning to talk to the U.S. media and educational circles.
Meanwhile, Pastor Oh Jung Hyun has returned to the church pulpit after nine months of “self restraint”.