Sat, Jun 11, 2005 - Page 2 News List

MOE names new president for NTU, sparks controversy

SELECTION PROCESS The ministry chose an engineering professor for the post, but critics say it ignored the result of the university's own primary

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

National Taiwan University's (NTU) months-long struggle to find a new president was finally resolved yesterday when the Ministry of Education announced that it had selected Lee Si-chen (李嗣涔), an engineering professor, to take over the post.

The announcement sparked controversy, however, with critics saying the ministry had ignored the result of the university's primary, which had favored another candidate.

During the first primary held to decide on two final candidates from six presidential in March, only engineering college dean Yang Yeong-bin (楊永斌) earned more than 50 percent of the vote and qualified to be a finalist. The university then held another primary in April and chose Lee, who had failed to attract more than 50 percent of the vote in the first run, as the second of two finalists.

The university's 15-member election committee then recommended them to the ministry to make the final decision.

Dissatisfied with yesterday's result, some professors and students at NTU called for reform of the presidential election process.

"The education ministry currently holds the right to choose a university president from among candidates chosen by a school's election committee. I think universities should have more power to decide on their own presidents," said Chen Rui-rong (陳銳榮), a professor in the department of molecular and cellular bioscience.

In response, the ministry said that its selection committee made the decision based on the two candidates' qualifications, and there had been no favoritism.

The ministry will issue a formal offer to Lee after receiving the approval of the Executive Yuan. Lee will succeed current NTU president Chen Wei-jao (陳維昭) after Chen finishes his term at the end of this month.

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