Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) yesterday resigned over what he said were political manipulations and slander directed at the ministry amid a months-long controversy surrounding the legality of National Taiwan University (NTU) president-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) heading the nation’s leading university.
Pan yesterday told the media that he had tendered his resignation to Premier William Lai (賴清德).
Although he is not one to fear challenges at work, he decided to resign after much thought, to curb “politically motivated attacks and slander” leveled at the ministry over the case, Pan said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The political manipulations had given ministry employees unnecessary stress and placed an uncalled-for burden on them, he said.
Kuan was on Jan. 5 elected NTU president, but his inauguration was postponed after he faced allegations of a conflict of interest in the election, plagiarism and illegally teaching in China as a government-contracted professor.
Throughout his career as a public servant, he always abided by the law, including in his handling of the controversy surrounding Kuan’s election, Pan said in the statement.
The ministry, as the university’s governing agency, is obligated to ensure that the election was entirely procedurally sound and that the NTU president-elect has the qualifications to assume the post, he said.
Despite the university discussing issues surrounding Kuan’s election in internal meetings, questions still remain, and the ministry would be negligent if it did not try to clear up these doubts, Pan said.
The university’s president has a high status in academia and should stand up to public scrutiny, he said, adding that Kuan has a responsibility to clarify controversy stemming from his “own behavior.”
Kuan’s reticence over questions raised about him runs counter to public expectations and the doubts have in turn made the ministry a source of public criticism, Pan said.
He said he hopes that all political manipulations surrounding the issue would cease following his resignation, so that public attention would focus on the legitimacy of the elections and Kuan’s qualifications.
Lai yesterday said that he “reluctantly” approved Pan’s resignation.
Hopefully, Pan’s resignation would help establish a socially acceptable standard for the election of university presidents, Lai said.
Lai said he admires and respects Pan’s work to clear up doubts over Kuan’s suitability, while acknowledging his contributions as a tenured educator.
The premier also conveyed the hope that Kuan would address the public over the allegations that he illegally taught in China, so that the controversy can be laid to rest.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang
‘GOOD SIGN’: Thanks to public efforts, the number of COVID-19 cases is on a downward trend, the minister of health said, but told people not to let their guard down The COVID-19 situation appears to be relatively stable and on a downward trend, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, as he reported 185 domestic COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths. “This seems to be a relatively good sign,” Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told a daily news briefing. In Taipei and New Taipei City, the overall situation seems to be heading in a good direction, he added. He attributed it to public efforts to control the spread of the virus, but warned people against letting their guard down. Of the new local cases, 83 are males and
The EU is set to lift travel restrictions for US and Taiwanese residents as soon as this week, in the latest step toward a return to normal, despite concerns over the spread of potentially dangerous COVID-19 variants. Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, proposed adding Taiwan, the US, Albania, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macau, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Saudi Arabia and Serbia to a so-called “white list” of countries from which non-essential travel to the bloc is allowed, a diplomat familiar with the matter said. Assuming no objections, EU government envoys in Brussels would today approve the expanded
NO CONNECTION: Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said the CECC has linked no deaths so far to the AstraZeneca vaccine Eleven people in the nation have died after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, but the deaths should not deter older people with chronic health conditions from getting vaccinated. Nine of the deaths — people aged 65 to 97 — took place three hours to one day after the AstraZeneca vaccine was given, the center said, while eight of the 11 deaths were people aged 75 or older, most of whom had chronic health conditions. On Wednesday, the center said that 12 more people — seven women and five men aged 42 to 97 at
NEW BATCH: The ‘Liberty Times’ has reported that 240,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are to arrive in Taiwan today, following the first 150,000 doses that arrived in May The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 175 domestic cases of COVID-19 infection and 19 deaths. Of the local cases, 100 are male and 75 are female, with an onset of symptoms between June 3 and Wednesday, the center said. New Taipei City had the most local infections, with 87 cases, followed by Taipei with 34 cases, Miaoli County with 31, Hsinchu County with 10, Taoyuan with seven, and two each in Hualien County, Keelung and Taichung, it said. Of the 54 domestic cases reported outside Taipei and New Taipei City, 53 cases had known sources of infection, while one had an