Tue, Jun 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NCCU chided over missing donation

DISAPPEARING ACT:The university contradicted itself on whether Yuanta Financial specified a purpose for the money, New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung said

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung, center, speaks at a news conference yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

National Chengchi University (NCCU) owes the government, its faculty members and students an explanation about what it has done with a NT$100 million (US$3.35 million) donation from Yuanta Financial Holdings in 2014 that seemingly “disappeared,” New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

More than three-and-a-half years have passed since the donation was made, but the university has never fully explained where the money went or provided any concrete plans on how to use it, she said.

The money was not included in the university’s donation revenue reports in 2014 and 2015, neither could it be found in the university’s donation records, Hung said.

The university’s accounting records show that the donation was listed under “miscellaneous income” in 2014 and “unearned revenue” in 2015, because the donor had designated a specific use for the fund, she said, citing Ministry of Education data.

It is the government’s standard procedure to list unused donations as “unearned revenue” until an opportunity arises to use it.

However, the university’s explanation was self-contradictory, because the school had previously said the donor did not designate how the fund would be used, Hung said.

When asked to provide more documentation about the donation, the university refused, citing the Council of Grand Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 184 and No. 325, she said.

The university has offered extremely vague plans on how it would spend the money, such as hiring more instructors and offering more innovative classes, Hung said.

“[School] president Edward Chow (周行一) tried to use his connections to schedule a private meeting with me to discuss this. We do not understand why he would prefer to talk about this in private rather than provide the documents,” she said.

The interpretations cited by the university do not apply to this case, said Hu Po-yen (胡博硯), an associate professor of law at Soochow University.

“Auditing departments have a certain amount of independence from the executive branches, but they are still responsible and answer to the legislature,” he said, adding that the public university should have no right to refuse supervision from the legislature.

The “disappearance” of the donation shows that there is a lack of supervision over how the university manages its donations, Hung said.

To clarify the issue, she would provide the information she had collected to law enforcement officials and the Control Yuan for further investigation, she said.

Following the news conference, the university issued a statement demanding an apology from Hung, saying that she slandered Chow and defamed the school.

The university plans to use NT$95 million of the donation on faculty members, NT$ 1million on improving classes and NT$4 million on teaching assistants, and so far only NT$58,280 has been spent as part of a project to improve classes, it said.

Hung said she would not apologize because all she did was “ask the university to answer questions and to accept supervision.”

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