National Taiwan University (NTU) president Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) yesterday said he would resign after his term expires in June, because he does not want allegations of academic misconduct to continue be directed at the university in the wake of suspected breaches of academic integrity involving him and former NTU professor Kuo Min-liang (郭明良).
“I am the coauthor of some of the research papers being investigated, but I did not breach academic ethics and I was unaware of the issues in [Kuo’s] laboratory,” Yang said, referring to four potentially problematic papers he cowrote with Kuo’s research team between 2004 and 2006.
The school late last month dismissed Kuo and professor of dentistry Chang Cheng-chi (張正琪) over the matter.
Yang said at an internal university meeting that even though an independent investigation committee convened by the university had proven his innocence, as head of the university he must make his position on the incident known.
The allegations represented a setback for the university and revealed many shortcomings, Yang said, but added that he believes the institution can overcome the issues through introspection and continue to contribute to society.
Some academics have allowed the incident to degenerate into mudslinging by making unfounded accusations, Yang said.
A handful of individuals have been manipulating the media because of their personal preferences, he said.
“The university is a valuable Taiwanese asset. I hope to see more, but this cannot be achieved through compromising others’ achievements,” he said.
“To protect the school from criticism and restore harmony in the university system, I will tender my resignation after my term ends in June,” he said.
“I cannot bear to see NTU continue to take blows in the wake of this incident,” Yang said.
His resignation can only take effect if it is approved by participants at the meeting, he said, adding that the decision was not meant to “assume administrative responsibility,” but to defend the university.
Meanwhile, in response to Chang’s accusation that NTU vice president Kuo Te-wei (郭大維) and four top university officials on Nov. 11 last year, formed a conclave, Kuo presented his passport, showing that he was in Mexico at the time, as evidence that he had not attended the alleged meeting.
Chang on Tuesday submitted an audio recording that she said contained information at the alleged meeting, during which Yang urged Kuo Min-liang to resign on the condition that he would find him a job at a pharmaceutical firm and that he and Chang “shut up” about the alleged academic scandal.
The recording is being investigated by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science and Technology.
Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan and Rachel Lin