Mon, Jun 28, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Don't persecute streaker for prank, vice minister says

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The vice minister of education thinks that everybody should just keep their pants on about a recent university streaking incident.

Fan Sun-lu (范巽綠) said yesterday that Chang Gung University (長庚大學) had meted out too harsh a punishment to a student who streaked on campus after losing a bet with friends, suggesting that the university should reconsider its decision.

Two weeks ago, a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers who is an electrical-engineering major at the university made a bet with friends that the Lakers would win the NBA championship. The stakes were high: If the student lost the bet, he'd have to bare it all on the campus' athletic fields.

Bare it he did. After the Detroit Pistons humiliated the Lakers in the NBA Finals, taking the series four games to one, the student had no choice but to drop his trousers, and at 11pm on the evening the Finals ended, 700 students saw the whole show.

The next day, the incident was reported by local media outlets as an amusing campus event. School officials didn't find it so hilarious.

Officials at the university said the student's actions were "unforgivable" and had brought "shame to Chang Gung." Blamed with having "hurt the school's reputation," the student was punished with two major demerits, two minor demerits and "detention under surveillance."

It has been reported that the student became depressed upon learning of his punishment, but he and his family felt that there was nothing to be done about it.

Many students criticized the university's reaction to the incident, saying the school had overreacted. "The punishment was unfair and over the top. They made a big fuss over a trifling incident that involved no malice," a Chang Gung student said.

Fan said that she did not think that the student's behavior was unpardonable -- but that it would be a serious matter indeed for students to disseminate photos of the incident over the Internet.

"It's not unusual for students to do something a little crazy from time to time," Fan said.

"I would suggest that the school reconsider the student's excessive punishment," she said.

She said it might be best to keep a sense of humor about the streaking incident and let it drop.

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