Enrollment halted for Vietnam university addled by scandals

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Vietnam's education ministry Wednesday demanded a private university to stop enrollment after defiant school officials derailed a meeting held by city officials to announce their leaders' suspension.

Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has ordered a probe into the physical clash on Monday between several officials of Hung Vuong University and a delegation of the city Department of Internal Affairs, who had been authorized by the committee to dismiss two of the school 's leaders.

The delegation came to the school for a meeting to officially suspend the school's director Le Van Ly, and its board chairman Dang Thanh Tam, one of the richest investors in Vietnam's stock market.

Ly and Tam did not attend the meeting.

The ministry said "the school has recently seen a severe decrease of solidarity among its leaders, causing a loss of leadership and internal conflict that affected the teaching quality," Tien Phong reported.

Department director Dang Cong Luan, authorized by the city People's Committee to lead the delegation, accused the private school of refusing to allow him to leave by locking the doors and physically restraining him.

The People's Committee asked the police to consider proposing criminal charges against the school officers for "opposing officers on duty" by restraining the delegation for more than two hours.

Luan said in his accusatory letter that a group of officials from the school rushed into the room, screaming and trying to sabotage the meeting as he read the announcement of suspensions.

Phan Quang Chien Thang, the 35-year-old assistant of Ly, was accused of hindering the delegation. But Thang, a former police officer, denied the allegation when questioned by the police.

A department head at the school, who did attend the meeting, anonymously told news website VnExpress that director Ly stayed in his room instead of going to the meeting, though he had been invited.

The teacher said several school officials and the director's assistant broke into the meeting and forced the participants to sign a document declaring that the meeting was not official as it was not attended by a representative from the city People's Committee.

The delegation included southern representatives of the Ministry of Education and Training.

"They said no one can leave the room without signing the paper. Some participants wanted to use the toilet but were escorted by the school officials. I don't understand why they treated the government officials that way," the teacher said.

Le Van Thuc, the police chief of Tan Binh District where the school is located, excused the police for not intervening immediately, saying "that's there business."

The city government on March 3 decided to suspend Tam and Ly for improperly managing the school and causing serious internal conflicts.

Tam issued several statements as a board chairman before the city government granted him that title.

Meanwhile Ly only started paying taxes 2008, though the school was established in 1995.

He also failed to list more than VND6.5 billion (US$312,600) of revenue since 2007.

In 2009, the school's enrollment eclipsed the permitted limit by 30 percent.

The school currently has more than 9,000 students.

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