National Sun Yat-sen University yesterday announced that its students and faculty have voted to move a statue of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) to a different location on its campus, while a statue of Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen (孫中山), with which it shares a plinth, is to remain.
The university in November last year initiated a school-wide referendum on whether to move the statues from outside the Info-Library Building.
Online voting for the referendum closed at 4pm on Thursday, with 4,947, or 45.54 percent, of the 10,862 eligible voters casting a ballot, the university’s Office of Student Affairs said in a statement on its Web site.
Photo: Huang Hsu-lei, Taipei Times
Voters could select one of three options for each of the two statues: Keep it where it is; move it to a different location on campus; or move it off campus, the office said.
For Sun’s statue, 3,113 people (62.93 percent) voted to keep it where it is, 871 (17.61 percent) voted to move it to a different location on campus and 963 (19.47 percent) voted to move it off campus, the office said.
For Chiang’s statue, 2,311 people (46.72 percent) voted to keep it where it is, 869 (17.57 percent) voted to move it to a different location on campus and 1,767 (35.72 percent) voted to move it off campus, the office added.
According to the university’s referendum policy, if the “keep it where it is” option received more than 50 percent of the total number of votes, the statue would remain in place, but if it received less than 50 percent of the total number of votes, the statue would be moved.
If the sum of the “keep it where it is” and “move it to a different location on campus” votes exceeded 50 percent of the total number of votes, the statue would be moved to a different location on campus, but if the sum did not exceed 50 percent of the total number of votes, the statue would be moved off campus, the office said.
Based on these rules, Chiang’s statue is to be moved to a different location on campus, the office said.
Details on the time and destination of the move are to be discussed, and the move is to be funded by donations, it added.
The two statues have been repeatedly vandalized on occasions such as 228 Memorial Day.
A student representative surnamed Chien (錢) at a university affairs meeting on Oct. 21, 2016, proposed removing the statues to promote transitional justice, university student association president Yuan Ho-ching (袁禾青) said.
In response to Chien’s proposal, the university’s administration formed an ad hoc committee; for more than a year, the student association, the committee and the Office of Student Affairs hosted a series of debates, she said.
Following the announcement of the referendum result, some university students climbed onto the statues’ pedestal to take photographs.
It was the first time a university or school in Taiwan has resolved the issue of a political figure’s statue through a referendum, the university said in the statement.
It was also the university’s first-ever referendum, it said, adding that it would be delighted to share its experience with other schools.
Additional reporting by CNA
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