Fri, May 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Group seeking NTU election reform

‘FAILED’:The student alliance calls for National Taiwan University to hold a new presidential election, collecting more than 400 signatures on its petition

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

A student at National Taiwan University in Taipei yesterday rides a bicycle past a wall with a banner that reads: “Fight for NTU.”

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

A group of National Taiwan University (NTU) students has formed a group calling for reform of the election process for university presidents and has urged the school to comply with the Ministry of Education’s request that it conduct another election.

The ministry on April 27 announced that the university’s elected candidate, Kuan Chun-ming (管中閔), was unqualified to be president, because he had contravened education laws by serving as an independent director and as a member of the remuneration and auditing committees at Taiwan Mobile before gaining approval from the university.

It also cited a conflict of interest in the election, as Taiwan Mobile vice chairman Richard Tsai (蔡明興) was a member of the school’s presidential election committee.

While the university has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow to determine its next step, it plans only to discuss whether universities have the right to select their own president based on the principle of university autonomy.

The NTU Alliance for Presidential Election Reform (台大校長遴選改革陣線) was on Tuesday formed by a group of students who are concerned about the election, true university autonomy and students’ role in such autonomy, NTU student Kao Shao-fang (高紹芳) said.

Since the beginning of the controversy, students have been excluded from the decisionmaking process and unable to participate in any discussions, she said.

It is the group’s hope that the controversy will become an opportunity for the university to review the role of students in university autonomy, as well as the way in which council meetings and presidential elections work, she added.

The alliance proposes that the university hold another election as soon as possible to get teaching, research and other school affairs back on track, it said in a statement.

The presidential election process is clearly flawed and the ministry has a legal basis for supervising presidential elections at universities, it said.

NTU should ensure that people have equal rights to express their views on campus and protect freedom of speech, it added.

At the university council meeting on March 24, all motions to discuss the controversy surrounding Kuan’s election were blocked by the school, the group said.

Moreover, the spokeswoman for the presidential election committee has frequently made comments on behalf of the entire committee without the consent of other members, it said.

“This shows that the university has failed to adhere to the principles of democracy and rule of law, and is incompetently exercising its autonomy,” it said.

While an NTU notice said the school would not remove yellow ribbons tied to the campus bell tower by students and teachers supporting Kuan, all other symbols and banners expressing opposing viewpoints have been removed, it said.

The alliance asked NTU students and faculty members to sign a petition if they agreed with its proposal.

As of press time last night, the group had collected more than 400 signatures.

Additional reporting by Rachel Lin.

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