National Taiwan University (NTU) president Lee Si-chen (李嗣涔) yesterday said the school would not suspend recruitment of foreign students over a recent conflict between a Danish exchange student and a local student at one of the university’s dormitories.
Conflict between different cultures is inevitable, he added.
Lee was referring to an incident in which a female student with the alias “nqcjd31d” said on Saturday in a post on the Professional Technology Temple (PTT) — the nation’s biggest academic online bulletin board system (BBS) — that a Danish girl who lives next to her tried to break into her room with a group of foreign and local male students and verbally threatened her.
That came after she protested the noise the group was making at a late-night drinking party, but the school did nothing after she complained, the local student said.
The allegation sparked outrage among local students, who, within hours, posted online the names and nationalities of the foreign students involved.
More than 100 students gathered outside the dormitory late on the night of Jan. 15 to protest the school’s inaction.
The incident later escalated into a he-said-she-said controversy on the Internet as an English-language letter allegedly written by the Danish student was posted on the BBS.
In the letter, the writer accused the local student of knocking on the wall every time the foreign student moved since the foreign student had moved in.
She said that the Taiwanese student had also peeked into her room the previous day and violated her privacy, adding that only one of her male friends had knocked on the local student’s door in the hopes of communicating with her.
However, the Danish student’s self-defense only drew more criticism from Netizens.
In response to student anger over the dispute, Joyce Feng (馮燕), dean of student affairs at the school, said on Monday that the school would investigate the situation.
Feng also apologized on behalf of the school for mismanagement of the girls’ dormitory, which is run by an outside contractor that is required to control the access of male visitors after midnight.
She also vowed that NTU would hold those involved in the incident accountable and said the school did not rule out suspending its exchange program with the university the Danish girl came from, pending a thorough investigation.
The NTU Student Association said it was satisfied with the school’s response and pledge, and stressed that the protest was not directed at foreign students.
“Breaking into anyone’s room and delivering verbal threats are not tolerable, but the real issue in the incident was the bad sound insulation of the dormitory. In that building, the person next door can hear you clearly even if you speak at a normal volume,” a member of the association said.
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