Sat, Jun 30, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Academia Sinica faces controversy ahead of meeting

BONE OF CONTENTION:It was reported that some academicians plan to object to Wu Maw-kuen’s role in the organization’s ad hoc reform committee

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Academia Sinica is to discuss organizational reform issues next week, while the roles of former minister of education Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) and academician Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) in the process have been questioned.

The nation’s top research institution is to hold its 33rd Convocation of Academicians from Monday to Thursday. It is a biennial event that focuses on electing new academicians — the institution’s honorary title.

At its last convocation in 2016, it established an ad hoc committee to improve organization and operations, with Wu and Kuan elected as two of the committee’s 17 members.

The Chinese-language United Daily News on Thursday reported that some academicians planned to object to Wu’s role.

Academician Hsiang Wu-chung (項武忠) was quoted as saying that the institution’s reform should not be handled by a contentious figure such as Wu, especially as he managed to block Kuan from assuming the post of National Taiwan University (NTU) president.

Hsiang was referring to Kuan’s election as NTU president on Jan. 5. He was supposed to take office on Feb. 1, but the Ministry of Education postponed his appointment, amid allegations of plagiarism and a conflict of interest, as well as a flawed selection process.

The controversy led to the resignation of then-minister of education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠).

After Wu became the education minister, the ministry on April 27 decided not to approve Kuan’s election and asked NTU to hold a new election.

Wu resigned from his post on May 29 after only serving for 41 days.

The committee is an independent organization, and its members were nominated and elected by academicians following due procedures, Academia Sinica said in a statement yesterday.

Wu is one of the members of the committee’s mathematics and science division, while Kuan is a member of the humanities division, it said.

Having convened four meetings over the past two years, the committee has produced a report offering suggestions for reforms, Academia Sinica said, adding that committee spokesperson and academician Wu Kun-yu (伍焜玉) would deliver the report at a meeting on Tuesday.

Asked if Wu and Kuan would attend the meeting, the institution said it could not answer because it does not survey the attendance of specific meetings in advance.

The organization and function of the institution’s council, which is tasked with reviewing research projects; the election procedures for its president; and the nomination process for academician candidates would be key issues deliberated at the meeting, it said.

The list of newly elected academicians would be announced on Thursday, the institution added.

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