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Court rejects teacher's suit for tarnished name

A DISTRICT court yesterday rejected a lawsuit filed by a university teacher, who was suing a student for damaging her reputation. She is the city's first teacher to sue a student.

The Songjiang District People's Court ruled an article published by the defendant on the campus Website, which accused the teacher of earning a profit by organizing a taekwondo training course, didn't damage the reputation of the plaintiff, Feng Xiazhen.

Feng, a teacher in the physical education department of the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, was chosen in 2007 to set up and manage a taekwondo training class and to recruit students.

The department hired a professional coach from a taekwondo club and charged a fee.

Hu Tiantian, a third-year student who organized a taekwondo community on campus, published an article on the university Website in May last year that accused Feng of accepting rebates and earning a profit from the class.

Feng said she was just following the instructions of the department. She said she had handed all the money collected from students to the department. The money was used to pay the coach and buy uniforms and shoes for students.

Feng said her reputation has been badly damaged and asked for compensation of 10,000 yuan (US$1,466).

Hu denied he accused the teacher on the campus Website. He said he just discussed the issue with some classmates on his personal message board.

"Only my good friends could see the article and it wouldn't affect Feng's reputation to a great extent," he told the court, adding he deleted it after another teacher told him to.

Hu said Feng persuaded students to attend the training class by promising to recommend them to the university team, which would earn them more credits.

Meanwhile, Feng tried to persuade Hu to give up his taekwondo community to avoid competition with her class.

The court said Hu expressed his personal opinion in the article and that not all students agreed with him. In addition, Feng won a school award for running the class successfully. The court ruled that these things showed her reputation hadn't been damaged.


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