A former teacher at Chulalongkorn University said the university failed to protect her against a lawsuit even though all she did was approve a thesis while she was teaching at the school.
The associate professor and four others are being sued by MR Priyanandana Rangsit, a granddaughter of the Prince of Chai Nat, who is seeking damages of 50 million baht for alleged slander.
The other four defendants including thesis writer Nattapol Chaiching who wrote two books and a thesis that the plaintiff claimed were misleading and damaged the reputation of her grandfather.
“To prosecute me as a thesis adviser is defying the principles of academic freedom and this will have a serious impact on the academic sector in the future as well,” wrote Associate Professor Dr Kullada Kesboonchoo-Mead in an open letter.
“It is a universally accepted standard that the outcomes from a thesis are the responsibility of the person who wrote it…but it is regrettable that Chulalongkorn University does not accept or act in accordance to this universal principle,” she said.
Nattapol’s thesis, “Thai Politics in Phibun’s Government under the US World Order (1948–1957),” takes a critical look at Thailand during the Cold War.
Two executives of the Fah Diew Kan publishing house, Anchalee Maneeroj and Thanapol Eawsakul are being sued for publishing the two books, “Khor Funfai Nai Fun An Lueachuea” and “Khun Seuk Sakdina Phraya Insi”.
Kullada said the thesis was already approved by a board of experts which unanimously agreed that it passed the test and that the piece was “excellent” because it open up room for free debate.
She said if the university is actually an internationally accepted institution, it should adhere to universally accepted principles and they should protect her for doing her duty as instructed by the university.
“On the contrary, I am being supported and helped by senior professors from Thammasat University instead and I would like to say thank you to them,” she said.