Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Alumni call for ‘revolution’ in KMU board

TRANSPARENCY:Kaohsiung Medical University alumni said the Chen family is not qualified to run the school and has interfered in its administrative and hiring practices

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU) alumni yesterday called for a “revolution” in the university’s board, which is dominated by donor families, as the Legislative Yuan considers amendments to the Private School Act (私立學校法).

“The Chen (陳) family has no qualifications to run the school and all its board does is stick its hands into where the money is,” school alumnus Simon Lin (林榮松) said at a meeting at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, which saw current and former heads of the school’s US and Japan alumni associations pledging to establish a self-help association to overthrow the school board.

About 15 campaigners wore shirts calling for a “transparency revolution” at the school.

“There is no longer any possibility of compromise — we are here to formally declare war and there is only one objective: that board members step down,” Lin said, dismissing a proposal by the board to add four new board seats for school alumni to the current board of nine.

The alumni criticized the proposal on the grounds that the new directors would be appointed by board chairman Chen Chien-chih (陳建志), perpetuating the board’s control by descendants of Chen Chi-chuan (陳啟川), on whose land the school was constructed in the 1950s.

The conflict erupted after the board and university president Liu Ching-kuan (劉景寬) clashed over the board’s passage of an article allowing it to recall the president, leading to protests from students and alumni.

Alumni accused the board of routinely interfering with the school administration, as well hiring and procurement practices.

The board in 2009 repeatedly applied to the Ministry of Education to rename the school after Chen Chi-chuan’s father, and name Chen Chi-chuan as the school’s founder, instead of Tu Tsung-ming (杜聰明), a Taiwanese doctor who served as the sole Taiwanese professor at the Taipei Imperial University Medical School during Japanese colonial rule, said Lily Hsiao, the former head of the university’s Japanese alumni association.

“They also want to separate the hospital from the school in a bid to give the board direct control over its income, forcing the school to apply to the board for funds,” Hsiao said, adding that the ministry had rejected the request, while withholding the school’s annual subsidy as punishment.

Amendments to the act awaiting cross-caucus negotiations would require private school boards to include a “public interest” board member, as the New Power Party and unions call for stricter rules to ban donor families from controlling more than one-fifth of school board seats.

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