Sat, Jul 12, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Letters

`Wolf' doesn't belong in class

We read regularly about whether the so-called "Hwakang Wolf" should be paroled from prison so that he may attend National Taiwan University. The debate seems to take for granted the fact that he has already been accepted by this institution, and ignores the frightening fact that what is arguably the finest university in the nation appears happy to admit a convicted and dangerous felon.

As I have been told by academics, this country's laughingly out-of-date examination and enrollment system assures that students who simply achieve among the highest scores on tests gain automatic admission to elite schools. Clearly, this concept needs some rethinking as such a fine institution and Taiwan itself are not only doing serious damage to their reputations at home and abroad, but they are sending a very negative message about what is considered important in student selection.

Perhaps it is time for Taiwan to do as they do in most modern educational systems -- judge candidates as worthy of acceptance based on test scores and also other factors such as interviews, character, recommendations and activities.

One can only imagine the scandal, fury and uproar if a top Western university such as Harvard or Cambridge publicly acknowledged that it was ready to admit a serial rapist. Would an excuse such as "well, he passed the tests" suffice? One would think not. Maybe it's time for Taiwan to emerge from the educational dark ages. One's character and place in society are not dictated by test scores alone.

Jonathan Gardner

Taipei

Once again, we are in a hot debate again of whether or not to grant parole to the serial rapist known as the "Hwakang Wolf" who wants to attend the sociology department at National Taiwan University in September.

I could summarize the reasons in favor of granting the parole application as follows: the Wolf has served seven years of his 17-year sentence, meeting the requirement of serving time for parole application. He has every right to receive education just like anyone else does. No one is perfect, so even a repeat offender should be given a chance to start a new life.

However, these are flawed arguments when considering the nature and severity of the crimes committed by the Wolf.

The Wolf was convicted on 27 counts of raping female college students and nine charges of theft. His crimes were definitely more severe than the punishment meted out by the judge, as I am sure many of his victims who felt a lot of shame and did not come forward and press charges against him.

In light of the many lives literally destroyed by this criminal, he should be jailed a multiple of the 17-year sentence without a chance of parole. If the Ministry of Justice grants the Wolf parole it will be doing a disservice and injustice to out society.

It is the Wolf himself, not our society, who deprived him of his right to receive an education. In fact, his attendance at the university will constantly pose a threat to female students and may wreak havoc on the most prestigious education institute in the country. Thus, this Wolf will deprive many students of their right to receive an education in a safe peaceful environment.

It is a disturbing fact that our prison system cannot prevent escapes and there is a lack of mechanisms in our society to effectively rehabilitate and prevent a parolee from offending again.

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