Fri, May 18, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NTU law professors, alumni say school distorted ‘autonomy’

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

A group of National Taiwan University (NTU) law professors and alumni yesterday criticized the school for “distorting the concept of university autonomy” and launched a petition calling for the school to hold another election for university president.

The Ministry of Education on April 27 said NTU Department of Finance chair Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) was unqualified to be university president because he had failed to disclose positions at Taiwan Mobile, and that his selection had been flawed due to a conflict of interest in the election process.

The university on Saturday last week decided in a council meeting that it would urge the ministry to appoint Kuan and would take legal action if officials refused.

The decision received mixed reactions from faculty members and students, with some praising it as a brave and necessary step to uphold the university’s autonomy and others blaming the school for disregarding the law.

The university has not properly addressed any of the legal issues related to the decision reached during the council meeting, a group of NTU law professors and alumni said in a joint statement yesterday.

“There was no discussion on the pros and cons of taking legal action against the government. Neither was there any serious evaluation of the possibility of winning a lawsuit or an estimated time frame. Furthermore, participants were given limited information with no time to debate different options,” they said in the statement.

“The university has disregarded the law, distorted the concept of university autonomy, concealed important information and ignored a major flaw in the presidential election regulations regarding conflicts of interest,” they said.

To prevent further delay, the university should conduct another presidential election, despite the council’s decision, they said.

It should review council meeting procedures to allow discussions that are more democratic, they said.

The university’s administration should remain politically neutral and disclose important information related to the election, they said, adding that it should also offer professional analysis and an evaluation of the legal issues involved.

Council representatives should properly address the university’s role in the presidential selection process and candidates’ obligation to disclose personal information, as well as the reported conflict of interest in the process to elect Kuan and his alleged illegal positions at Taiwan Mobile, plagiarism and other issues, they said.

The group welcomes any law academics and legal professionals who agree with the statement to join their petition, they added.

The 26 professors who issued the joint statement include NTU law professors Lin Yu-hsiung (林鈺雄), Yen Chueh-an (顏厥安) and Chen Chao-ju (陳昭如), as well as Academia Sinica associate research fellow Chiou Wen-tsong (邱文聰) and NTU Graduate Institute of National Development professor Liu Ching-yi (劉靜怡).

People who later joined the petition included the university council student representative Tung Yu-wen (童昱文), retired NTU law professor Huang Jung-chien (黃榮堅) and attorney Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎).

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