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May 26, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

Students say name's a shame

A LOCAL university's students are calling on school authorities to remove the name of an academic building that honors a tycoon accused of rape.

"I tend to associate the building with words such as 'rape' and 'lecher' whenever I pass by it," said a post on the school's Internet bulletin board system.

"I strongly recommend the school remove the name sign on the exterior of the building to maintain its dignity and quality."

The controversial building is in East China Normal University's Minhang District campus. The university named the five-story structure "Song Shan Mu Building" after the alumnus donated 1 million yuan (US$146,360) to the school in 2008.

Earlier this month, Song Shanmu, a successful education entrepreneur, was detained for allegedly raping an intern and sexually harassing several other female staff members.

The post that pled for the name change triggered heated debates among students.

Many people agreed with the idea and said the name made them uncomfortable and even aroused horror among women students for its association with "rapist."

"It's a disgrace," said a woman alumnus surnamed Zhu.

"The name should not be kept and spread to the newcomers. Students will feel unhappy to study in a building named after him."

However, some said they there were still merits in Song and the donation shouldn't be discarded.

"He runs a business successfully and made contribution to the county's education industry, after all," said Justin Tang, who graduated from the school last year.

"The fact of the university's accepting donation from a man accused of raping will not be changed, even the name is finally removed."

School officials said they knew of the controversy but declined to comment.

Liu Chunquan, a local lawyer, said ECNU can change the name if it's not a conditional gift. "But if it had contract with the donor about the name, ECNU cannot change the name themselves," Liu said.

School buildings named after donors are not unusual on Chinese campuses. Social critics advised schools to strictly evaluate donors' merits as well as careers before deciding to name buildings after them.

Song, 46, is the founder of one of China's largest multinational private training institutes, Sunmoon Lifelong Education Group. He is famous for his frequent attendance at the annual CCTV New Year's Gala, a show broadcast nationwide, and his trademark outfit of white suit and big beard.

He is now under investigation after a 22-year-old woman named Luo Yun called the police saying he had raped her on May 3.


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