Sat, May 21, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Student triumphs in suit over university expulsion

‘MILESTONE’:Chiu Chih-yen said the education ministry should examine school practices that were unreasonable so that students wouldn’t have to engage in legal battles

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Chiu Chih-yen, a student from Taoyuan County’s Vanung University, yesterday holds up the decision he received from the Ministry of Education overruling the school’s decision to expel him for events relating to attempts to form a student organization.

Photo: Chen Yi-ching, Taipei Times

A former student from Taoyuan County’s Vanung University yesterday called for increased emphasis on students’ rights after the Ministry of Education ruled that the school had committed administrative negligence by expelling him for a row related to his attempt to form a student organization.

Chiu Chih-yen (邱智彥), who won the administrative lawsuit against the university for expelling him without legitimate reasons, lauded the ministry’s ruling made earlier this month, but he expressed concern about how the school would handle his case in the future.

“The ministry ignored in its ruling that the school abused my rights. What should I do if the university expels me again once I return to school?” Chiu said at a press conference held in Taipei.

He said neither the school nor the ministry contacted him following the ruling and it remained unclear when he would be returning to school.

Last year, Chiu submitted an application to create a student organization with the name “Voices of the Marginalized,” but it was turned down because school officials thought the name was not appropriate.

He changed the title of the organization several times, but the school repeatedly rejected his application. The school eventually accepted the name “Social and Humanitarian Club,” but asked Chiu to seek endorsements from students in at least eight of the school’s departments.

Believing that the school was attempting to block his application, Chiu began a solo sit-in protest outside of the school.

Chiu was given demerits for “blocking traffic” with his protest, as well as for videotaping a meeting with school officials, and he was subsequently expelled from the school in January.

Chiu filed an administrative lawsuit against the university according to constitutional interpretations No. 382 and No. 684, which give college students the right to file administrative lawsuits against school decisions or policies,

After a three-month investigation by the ministry, Chiu won his case.

He described his victory in the lawsuit as a “milestone,” and called on the ministry to take the initiative to look into unreasonable school policies so that students would not have to go through legal battles with schools.

“Hopefully, my case will prompt schools to revise or cancel policies that impinge on students’ rights, which should help reduce the tension between students and schools,” he said.

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