Mon, May 14, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Kuan’s NTU supporters have three alternatives

By Chin Heng-wei 金恒煒

The first decision Minister of Education Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) made upon taking office was significant: a swift decision to reject the appointment of Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as National Taiwan University (NTU) president because the election process “contravened legitimate procedure.”

While the public was still wondering how NTU would react, political figures from the pan-blue and China-friendly camps fell over each other in their eagerness to criticize the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said the ministry was “even worse than the warlords of the Beiyang government,” while political commentator Wang Chien-chuang (王健壯) condemned the DPP administration for being “even more atrocious than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).”

Kuan, quoting from a Facebook post by former minister of culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台), said that the day the decision was made would be recorded in the history books.

Analogies between the DPP and the Beiyang warlords and KMT are ridiculous.

Yet, will NTU dig in its heels and wage a “holy war” against the ministry?

The university has three possible options:

NTU has decided not to dissolve the selection committee or re-elect its members, which is tantamount to “waging no war, not retreating, not advancing and not compromising,” and saying that it will fight the ministry to the bitter end.

This will not work and the reason is simple: Last year, the NTU budget exceeded NT$6.7 billion (US$225 million) and next year’s budget is due to be submitted around September. Initiating a sweeping strategy against the ministry while begging for money from it is unlikely to be successful.

NTU’s second option is that all faculty members who belong to the old party-state structure and support Kuan resign and set up their own school, which is not unprecedented.

In September 1908, a huge student movement began at China Public School (中國公學), where Chinese philosopher and essayist Hu Shih (胡適) was enrolled.

Most students dropped out and established the China New Public School (中國新公學). They rented buildings for lectures, cooked food, hired teachers, designed curricula and attended classes, with Hu Shih temporarily serving as an English instructor.

The details can be found in Hu’s Autobiography at Forty (四十自述).

There is a group of “heroes” at NTU bedecking the campus with yellow ribbons, organizing “uprisings” and reciting ineffective “New May Fourth Movement” slogans. To make a better impression they should begin a real revolution, but they do not have the guts, influence or means to do so.

Even if they wanted to establish another university, they would have to submit the proposal to the government in compliance with the law and the new school would still be regulated by the University Act (大學法).

Honestly speaking, if they wanted to stage a real revolution, they might as well defect to China and set up a Chinese Taiwan University there, appealing to China’s united front tactics and taking their “holy war” against the education ministry to an effortless victory.

However, the best strategy would be to rely on the judiciary.

Regardless of whether a lawsuit is filed by the election committee or by Kuan and whether it is a civil or administrative lawsuit, an appeal to the Control Yuan or even a constitutional interpretation, all secrets would be revealed and Taiwanese would all find out who was right and who was wrong, as well as who trampled all over NTU’s autonomy.

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