A ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court on Friday rejected a complaint filed by an overseas compatriot student, upholding a decision by National Cheng Kung University to expel the student.
An overseas compatriot student refers to people of Chinese ethnicity who were born and live overseas, or to Taiwanese nationals who have resided overseas for more than six consecutive years until they return to Taiwan for studies.
The student, surnamed Chao (趙), enrolled at the university’s medical college in 2008, but he failed more that two-thirds of his credits in the second semester of 2009.
In the first semester of 2010, Chao took 20 credits and failed 12.
In accordance with Article 21, Chapter 7 of the school regulations, the university determined that Chao’s academic performance was bad enough to warrant expulsion.
Article 21 stipulates that if a student’s failed credits total two-thirds of the total in a given semester, half the total credits for two consecutive semesters or half the total credits for one semester and one-third for the following semester, then that student should be expelled.
Unhappy with the university’s decision, Chao appealed to the university authorities, which backed the decision, saying that Chao’s performance failed to meet the standard required of overseas students with a Chinese background.
Article 21 also states that overseas students with a Chinese background, students from Mongolia or Tibet, foreign students, Aboriginal students, children of state officials sent overseas and athletic students that meet Ministry of Education regulations should also be expelled if they failed to pass two-thirds of their credits in one semester.
Chao then filed an administrative complaint in which he said that having grown up in a foreign country with a different system of education, the cultural and academic environment in Taiwan differed greatly from what he was used to.
Claiming that this caused students from his class to distance themselves from him, Chao said he was unable to participate in discussion, study groups or borrow notes from classmates, which he blamed for his bad grades.
Chao also provided a CD in which he filmed a class discussion.
The footage indicated that Chao was filming from the back of the classroom when the professor called a group discussion. However, he continued to film and did not participate in the discussion, which he said showed that he was unable to take part.
However, the court ruled that in accordance with university regulations, Chao was eligible for expulsion and the CD or other evidence he provided failed to prove definitively that he was shunned by classmates rather than voluntarily excluded himself from group discussions.
The court also said Chao’s claim that not having notes caused his poor grades did not explain why during his third year at college when the department printed out a classmate’s notes for the entire semester for him, he still failed many classes.
The court made its final ruling upholding the university’s decision to expel Chao on Friday.