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Harvard University blocks Thai netizens on Facebook amid anger over defaulting dentist

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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.

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.

“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”.

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)

 

You guys are shutting down dissent by blocking a whole country’s access to your little social media page?Aren’t there…

Posted by Jay Lipo on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

 

Dear Harvard,You have seen now many Thai people come here and demand justice about this immoral and unethical Thai…

Posted by Tee Teeormee on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 

Blocking Thai IP won’t help. We have been pretty capable in bypassing this. Harboring a scammer as a lecturer in such…

Posted by Chaitee Tandhanskul on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

One of the best university in the world, blocking Thailand IP for protesting one of its unethical and immoral Thai…

Posted by Nattapon Saithong on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

 

In the US, we have to check the background of our prospective employees. We don’t hire thieves or people with criminal…

Posted by Annie Nil on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

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.

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