Harvard University has been forced to block Facebook users in Thailand from accessing its official Facebook page after netizens flooded it with negative reviews over an ongoing controversy involving a Thai-born dentistry lecturer.
The drama came to light at the end of January when Dr Dolrudee Jumlongras, who is currently an instructor at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, was accused of evading her debts in Thailand totaling over THB30 million (US$848,345).
One of her guarantors, Dr Padej Poonwithayakij, who is also a dentist, said he and three others had agreed to become guarantors for her THB8 million (USD$226,242) scholarship in 1993, which had been granted by Dolrudee’s alma mater Mahidol University to enable her to further her studies at Harvard.
Opinions in Asia : Harvard University blocks Thai netizens on Facebook amid anger over defaulting dentist https://t.co/hHCC6NfbMJ
— All News Asia (@Allnewsasia) February 10, 2016
According to Padej, Dolrudee had been expected to pay off the loan by returning to Thailand and working at the university after completing her graduate studies. However, after spending almost 10 years in the U.S., she broke the terms of her scholarship and left her four guarantors to deal with her debt.
Padej had posted a photo of a receipt, dated Jan. 19, to Facebook, claiming he had paid THB2.2 million (USD$62,222) to the university for his share of Dolrudee’s debt after he and the other guarantors had negotiated with the university in court.
“It’s done. I have paid for my karma with millions of baht for Dolrudee, a former instructor at the Faculty of Dentistry of Mahidol University who received a scholarship to study in America,” Padej wrote in the public post, which has since been taken down.
She isn’t going to pay back just buying times for the case to be over on the 14th this month! I couldn’t believe… https://t.co/xa3XnmWbcP
— Lynn (@lenetta11) February 10, 2016
“For the benefit of the faculty and our profession, I signed the guarantee along with a lecturer, colleague [at Mahidol University] and friend of Dolrudee Jamlongras, hoping she’d return to do good for the public. But the only answer she gave us was she had no money when she is working as a researcher at Harvard University, receives a high salary and lives in a luxurious apartment in America,” he added in the post.
Padej also said Dolrudee had only sent back USD50,000 (THB1.78 million) for the four guarantors to split between them, which wasn’t enough to settle the debt, forcing some of them to take out loans.
According to reports, Harvard is aware of the matter, but has thus far said it would not intervene, as “it was a private matter”.
too bad // https://t.co/HqciBFlXc2
— film (@filmf__) February 10, 2016
The Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s official website, which is currently down, listed Dolrudee as an instructor in Developmental Biology and said she completed her PhD at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 2003.
Angered by the prestigious university’s indifferent response, Thai netizens have been bombarding the university’s official Facebook page, necessitating in the block. This move has only further agitated the tech-savvy mob, many of whom are still accessing the Facebook page through proxy sites or VPNs.
(The posts below will not be viewable in Thailand)
Mahidol University and the Office of the Higher Education Commission have also announced their intention to file a lawsuit against Dolrudee for skipping out on the debt.
This article first appeared on Asian Correspondent.
Image via Shutterstock.