The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should not try to influence the results of National Taiwan University’s (NTU) presidential election and should respect the university’s autonomy, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday, amid allegations of academic misconduct by NTU president-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) and a conflict of interest.
“Questions raised about the electoral system for university presidents should be discussed on a systematic level. The DPP should not interfere with universities’ operations,” KMT caucus secretary-general Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) told a news conference at the legislature.
The KMT accused the DPP of running counter to democratic values when it on Wednesday filed a motion over the Ministry of Education’s budget in cross-caucus negotiations, proposing that Kuan’s inauguration on Thursday next week be delayed until the controversy has been cleared up, Lee said.
.Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Under the University Act (大學法), the ministry must hire any qualified university president who was elected legally, said KMT Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩), who is also a member of the Legislative Yuan’s Education and Culture Committee.
As the university notified the ministry of the election results earlier this month, the ministry’s job was to ascertain that Kuan, a KMT member, is qualified and that the election was legal, Ko said.
However, it has allowed the issue to drag on, she said, accusing the ministry of inefficiency.
She also asked why the ministry has repeatedly questioned the election results after the university’s presidential election committee issued clarifications to prove that the election was legal.
The ministry’s stance on the election differs greatly from how it acted on a dispute over the election late last year of Steve Kuo (郭旭崧) as president of National Yang Ming University, she said.
When questions were raised about Kuo’s qualifications, who was an associate professor, the ministry said it respected Yang Ming’s handling of its own presidential election, she added.
Addressing DPP allegations that Kuan plagiarized a graduate student’s thesis, Ko said that the student listed Kuan as the author of a manuscript she referenced in her dissertation.
She questioned the need for Kuan to cite his student’s work as a source in a paper he later published, saying that the DPP should clarify whose work was referenced.
KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) panned the DPP for attempting to reverse the election result by threatening to decrease the university’s budget.
“The DPP should immediately take its dirty hands off [the university],” Chen said.
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