Wed, May 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NTU alliance demands ministry appoint Kuan

‘REAL’ AUTONOMY:An election committee member resigned over its decision to not hold a re-election, while NTU canceled a talk by the minister of education

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Members of National Taiwan University’s (NTU) Action Alliance for University Autonomy display a banner in front of the Fu Bell on the NTU campus in Taipei yesterday, calling on the government to stop interfering in the election of the university’s president.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

National Taiwan University’s (NTU) Action Alliance for University Autonomy yesterday demanded that the Ministry of Education appoint Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as NTU president and urged the school’s presidential election committee to boycott a new election process.

The ministry on Friday instructed the university to nominate another president, citing Kuan’s failure to reveal a conflict of interest in the election and his alleged academic misconduct.

The group — which said it consists of more than 4,000 NTU students, faculty members and alumni — yesterday issued a statement accusing the ministry of undermining the university’s autonomy by ignoring its election result and the conclusions of its council meetings.

Even though Deputy Minister of Education Yao Leeh-ter (姚立德) took part in the election process, the ministry did not raise any questions until the election was over, it said.

“By overthrowing its own decision, the ministry has not only abandoned its integrity and obligation to obey the law, but also undermined the university’s autonomy,” it said.

The group called on the ministry to immediately appoint Kuan and demanded that Premier William Lai (賴清德) apologize to the public.

It also asked the election committee to not choose another nominee, saying that “any academics with a sense of pride should refuse to run for president if there were to be a re-election.”

It encouraged people to attend a concert on campus at 4pm on Friday and join a campus rally on Saturday next week, when a university council meeting is to be held to discuss the school’s next step.

Several hours before the group released the statement, NTU law professor Shen Kuan-ling (沈冠伶) announced her resignation from the presidential election committee, saying some members’ decision to boycott a re-election has prevented her from performing her duty.

Her resignation came a day after election committee spokeswoman Yuan Hsiao-wei (袁孝維) said it would refuse to elect a new president, adding that more than half of the committee members support the decision.

Yuan’s statement cannot represent the entire committee, because she did not consult other members, Shen said.

Meanwhile, public opinion on the ministry’s decision to reject Kuan’s appointment is becoming increasingly polarized.

On Monday, interim NTU president Kuo Tei-wei (郭大維), National Taiwan Normal University president Wu Cheng-chih (吳正己) and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology president Liao Ching-jong (廖慶榮) issued a joint statement urging the ministry to respect universities’ autonomy and accept their election results.

A petition launched by National Taipei University of Business president Chang Ruay-shiung (張瑞雄) and six other school presidents calling on the ministry to respect university autonomy has collected more than 60,000 signatures.

Alternatively, the North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association yesterday issued a statement urging the ministry to strictly supervise universities to ensure they protect “real autonomy” by following regulations.

A talk at NTU on superconductivity by Minister of Education Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) scheduled to begin at 2:20pm yesterday was on Monday canceled by the school.

NTU cited the need to prevent the “possibility of disorder,” because the labor and other resources needed to maintain order at the venue was beyond its capabilities.

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