Wed, Jul 07, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Students' rights at risk

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday it had officially urged a number of universities to amend their student discipline regulations because they might be violating students’ human rights.

Department of Higher Education Deputy Director Yang Yu-huei (楊玉惠) said the MOE had sent an official request to National Kaohsiung Normal University (NKNU), National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and National Chang­hua University of Education (NCUE) asking them to scrap an article in their student disciplinary regulations.

The article prohibits students from taking part in rallies or parades using their school’s name without the school’s consent. Violators will receive a major demerit, the regulation stipulates.

“What is meant by participating in events using the school’s name is not clear and might violate [students’] human rights,” Yang told the Taipei Times in a phone interview.

The ministry’s move came after NKNU students launched an online petition on Sunday protesting against school authorities’ introduction of the article. NKNU had approved the article during the school’s administrative meeting on June 18.

By yesterday, the online campaign had attracted support from 265 people.

NKNU Student Union president Tung Hung-chih (董泓志) described the article as an “order to impose martial law” on campus, adding that the article violated students’ freedom of speech and should be ruled unconstitutional.

In response, NKNU vice president Wu Lien-shang (吳連賞) said the school would not add the article to its student disciplinary regulations, even though the school had already approved the article.

He said school authorities would discuss the matter with student representatives.

Tung, who participated in the June 18 meeting, said participants voted 39 to 10 in favor of adding the article to the disciplinary regulations.

Tung quoted university president Dai Chia-nan (戴嘉南) as saying at the meeting that lecturers should file official documents before making public remarks. The university already requires its lecturers to seek school authorities’ consent before making public remarks or signing petitions.

Cheng Ling-fang (成令方), a professor of Kaohsiung Medical University’s Graduate Institute of Gender Studies, endorsed the online petition, saying she wondered if the article meant that students also needed to file official documents to seek the school’s consent before they published papers.

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