Lecturer denies forcing student interns to prostrate officials at centre for the destitute

A lecturer at Mahasarakham University (MSU) has denied an accusation that she forced four student interns working at Khon Kaen centre for the protection of the destitute to prostrate before some officials of the centre.

Ms Saimai Chaisirin, head of the sociology and humanities of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, said the accusation against her which was made by Ms Panida Yospanya was distorted.

Ms Panida told Ms Saimai that she suspected irregularities at the centre after she was told to forge signatures of recipients of the fund for the destitute.

Instead of looking into the student’s claim, Ms Saimai reportedly told Ms Panida and other three students to apologise officials at the centre.

Ms Panida later submitted information about suspected corruption practices to the government which has found grounds of corruption at 24 centres nationwide so far.

The lecturer admitted that she told the four interns to wai officials from the Khon Kaen centre to ask for an apology so that they could continue their internship for the next few weeks.

“I didn’t force her to prostrate,” the lecturer said.

Claiming that she was close to Ms Panida, the lecturer admitted she felt sorry and didn’t understand that her good intention had been misinterpreted by the student.

Ms Panida claimed that three months after she and her three colleagues were made to apologize Khon Kaen centre officials, she met with the lecturer who hit her on the back during their meeting.  

But Ms Saimai claimed she only slightly hit Ms Panida on the shoulder.

“She (Panida) smiled and nothing happened,” she said, adding that the report was overblown.

Because of conflicting claims made by the lecturer and Ms Panida, the university’s rector has set up a fact-finding panel to investigate the matter.