During a group discussion titled “Civic Disobedience” hosted by National Taiwan University’s (NTU) college of law, college dean Shieh Ming-yan (謝銘洋) said that if anyone had the right to say “we failed our students,” it was the NTU college of law.
“We have truly failed our students, because we have not taught [President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) well,” Shieh said.
Ma received his bachelor’s degree of law from the college in 1972.
Shieh’s comments referred to how the government allegedly intended to indict students for illegal actions when they were the only ones to stand up and highlight the government’s incapabilities and shortcomings.
Shieh’s comments also alludes to the apologies offered by National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) President Wu Yan-hwa (吳妍華) on Thursday to police on duty during the Sunflower movement for “not having taught our students well.”
Wu sent an open letter to university staff on Friday apologizing for her comments, saying: “I have apologized, not because I felt the students have done something to dishonor the school, but for my personal role.”
Wu’s comments on Thursday drew criticism from university students and professors, with 75 professors and 2,700 students co-signing a petition to remove her from office, with alumni even offering to donate NT$1.7 million (US$56,496) to help the efforts of removing Wu from office.
The student’s petition said that they regretted Wu’s comments and were puzzled at her apology.
As an educator and scientific researcher, Wu should have attempted to understand that the origins of the Sunflower movement stemmed from the undemocratic way in which the government handled the cross-strait service trade pact, the elevation of the power of administration over that of legislation, and attempts to repress the civil right of political participation, the petition said.
“Wu instead chooses to stand against the trend and seek to — as a sort of father figure — devalue the efforts of students to participate in their own future and the legitimacy of the democratic system,” the petition said.
Wu further said that she was worried about students being penalized by law for attempting to voice their concerns, adding that since so many alumni and students have complained about her comments, she would apologize for delivering commentary which were not well thought through.
NCTU student Chao Tzu-wen (趙子文) said that although he accepted Wu’s apology, he cannot accept her values.
Meanwhile, NCTU alumnus Chiu Chi-hung (邱繼弘), the manager of CacaFly.com (聖洋科技公司), said on Facebook he had learned while studying at NCTU that he could not be entirely unemotional and uncaring about social issues.
That was one of the reasons he set up the cacaFly Asian Scholarship, through which he is hoping to make NCTU students more competitive.
“I cannot believe Wu has shattered the honor of NCTU students like this,” Chiu said.
CacaFly would not stop any scholarships that have already been approved, Chiu said.
He added that he hoped Wu would not continue to ruin the honor of NCTU students and she should be more careful about what she says when she offers comments on issues.