Thu, Dec 25, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Students accuse school of denying freedom of speech

By Wu Po-Hsuan  /  Staff reporter

A student at Shih Hsin University puts a surgical mask on a statue of school founder Cheng She-wo to protest against what students called the university’s lack of respect for freedom of speech, in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

Clad in medical face masks with a large X drawn across them, about 100 students at Taipei’s Shih Hsin University staged a demonstration on campus yesterday, saying that school administrators have obstructed their freedom of speech.

The protest was triggered by the recent removal of several items in a display window organized by the school’s student association, which included works of art that critiqued school policy.

The works addressed recent remarks made by university president Wu Yung-chien (吳永乾), who caused controversy when he questioned the value of the Lihpao Daily — a now-defunct newspaper published by the university renowned for its activist stance and critical investigative reporting — because it only had a circulation of 600 during its operation.

The protesters, who referred to the protest as the “Face Mask Movement,” said school administrators have displayed an increasing tendency to censor free speech on campus, including a recent incident in which a report on rising tuition fees was removed from the Small World Weekly, a student publication.

Student Tseng Yuan-hsin (曾原信), one of the organizers of the protest, said that recent actions by school administrators have gone against the ideals of the school’s founders.

The students placed a face mask over the face of a bronze statue of school founder Cheng She-wo (成捨我), who was known as a supporter of free speech.

In response, school administrators said that the student association originally applied to use the display window for Christmas decorations and that they merely removed items that were unrelated to the stated purpose.

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