The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday condemned the Ministry of Education’s decision not to approve Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as president of National Taiwan University (NTU), saying that the move has trampled on the university’s autonomy and lacks a legal basis.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had tried for nearly four months to revoke Kuan’s selection, which cost it a minister of education, Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠), who resigned in the process, KMT caucus secretary-general Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan.
“In the end, the ministry still devolved into the DPP’s political hitman,” she said.
The ministry on Friday night released a statement announcing its decision not to approve Kuan after a series of allegations related to possible conflicts of interest in the selection process, plagiarism and a teaching stint in China prevented him from taking office as previously scheduled on Feb. 1.
In explaining the ministry’s decision at a news conference on Friday evening, Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟) focused on the conflicts of interest as the main problem, questioning whether it was actually avoided during the selection process.
Lee yesterday said the ministry’s decision was an insult to all NTU faculty members and students that participated in the election, adding that the KMT caucus supports Kuan’s defense of his rights through judicial procedures and urges the faculty and students of NTU to speak out for the school’s right to autonomy.
KMT Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) said that Kuan’s alleged conflict of interest — failing to disclose that he was a Taiwan Mobile independent director prior to an election in which Taiwan Mobile vice president and NTU election committee member Richard Tsai (蔡明興) voted — permeated the ministry’s statement, even though NTU’s personnel department has confirmed that Kuan’s position at Taiwan Mobile was known by the university last June when he took up the post.
Moreover, the university’s election regulations do not stipulate that a candidate serving as an independent director must disclose the position, she added.
The school informed the ministry that there have been no issues with Kuan’s qualifications, Ko said, but the ministry rejected Kuan’s selection based on an allegation that had already been disproved, which is completely unacceptable.
“It is regrettable that newly appointed Minister of Education Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) chose to serve the DPP’s political goals just one month into his term by making such a ridiculous decision,” KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) said.
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