Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 1 News List

NTU professors pan presidential pick

CREDIBILITY:Eight NTU professors said the election committee was clearly flawed, because it failed to investigate Kuan’s Taiwan Mobile links and potential plagiarism

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

National Taiwan University professors hold a news conference in Taipei yesterday to criticize the procedure by which former Cabinet minister Kuan Chung-ming was elected to be the university’s next president.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Education should not approve the appointment of National Taiwan University (NTU) president-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), because the election process was clearly flawed, a group of NTU professors told a news conference yesterday.

It was reported earlier this month that Kuan was an independent director of Taiwan Mobile (台灣大哥大), and that company vice chairman Richard Tsai (蔡明興) was a member of the presidential election committee.

In response, the university election committee on Friday last week issued a statement saying that Kuan had in May last year obtained the school’s approval to serve as the independent director and said that he is qualified to be the president.

Eight NTU professors yesterday criticized the way the university election committee handled the controversy and said it is no longer qualified to make the decision.

“Although the information is open to the public, as a candidate, Kuan still had the responsibility to inform the school about his post at Taiwan Mobile,” NTU law professor Chen Chao-ju (陳昭如) said. “We are disappointed at the election committee, which has failed to do its job to avoid conflicts of interest and later tried to cover its mistake.”

The university’s regulations on presidential elections stipulates that the committee is responsible for reviewing the candidates’ documents and that it should ask the latter to provide more information should the need arise, NTU history professor Chen Tsui-lien (陳翠蓮) said, adding that the committee made a mistake when it failed to ensure that Kuan provided all the necessary information.

NTU should convene a university council meeting to discuss issues related to the election, because the committee lost its credibility after it failed to prevent and resolve controversies, Chen said.

Considering the problematic election process, the ministry should not approve Kuan’s appointment and its three representatives at the election committee should explain their views on the alleged conflicts of interest, as well as their standards for determining whether Kuan is qualified, she said.

The three representatives are Deputy Minister of Education Yao Leeh-ter (姚立德), former minister of education and former National Chengchi University president Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) and Academia Sinica research fellow Cheng Soo-cheng (鄭淑珍).

NTU biochemical science and technology professor Huang Ching-jang (黃青真) said the university has been applying the lowest possible standards to Kuan, but the leader of NTU should meet more than the basic requirements.

Huang also questioned the committee’s claim that Kuan did not plagiarize a student’s work, of which he has recently been accused, because the paper in question was only published in conference proceedings.

“Are we teaching our students that they can disregard academic ethics when they submit papers to conferences?” she asked.

Ministry Department of Personnel Director Chen Kun-yuan (陳焜元) said he is unsure why the professors said the procedures were flawed, adding that it is the committee’s responsibility to investigate issues such as conflicts of interest and failure to disclose important information.

Additional reporting by CNA

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