Thu, Jul 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

APIC students file for injunction

BAD PRECEDENT:Chen said that the case is an example of what might happen at other institutions that close down under proposed legislation on university reform

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Representatives of the Taiwan Higher Education Union hold a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

Students at the Asia-Pacific Institute of Creativity (APIC) in Miaoli County yesterday filed for a provisional injunction requesting that it continue to provide all necessary educational resources to students until they graduate, after the school unexpectedly announced its closure by the end of this month.

Following the June 10 announcement, the Ministry of Education held hearings on June 20 and 26, telling students that if they choose to transfer now, the government would make ad hoc arrangements to ensure all of their credits can be transferred and that such an option might not be available later, APIC lecturer Huang Hui-chih (黃惠芝) told a news conference in Taipei.

Faced with pressure from the school and the ministry, about 200 students — who constitute two-thirds of all APIC students — have agreed to transfer under the ministry’s ad hoc program, she said.

However, about 100 students who have decided to stay have requested that the school continue providing the courses, faculty, facilities and other resources they need to obtain their degrees, she added.

With the help of the Taiwan Higher Education Union and attorney Chiu Po-ching (邱柏青), a group of students have filed for a provisional injunction with the Miaoli District Court to require the school to fulfill its responsibility of providing the educational services it had promised students during recruitment.

The court is to make a decision within a month and the school would be fined if it disobeys the ruling, Chiu said.

Under the ministry’s ad hoc program, students would be required to transfer to Yu Da University of Science and Technology, about 16km from APIC, Huang said, but added that while the university would hire teachers so the students can obtain their degrees, it cannot provide the same facilities.

“In some cases, special facilities are required for students to learn certain skills and complete their program. For example, APIC’s ceramic art program has specialized kilns that other schools do not have,” Huang said.

Although ministry Department of Technological and Vocational Education Director Yang Yu-hui (楊玉惠) has promised to delay approval of APIC’s closure application until after all students have graduated, teachers and students are worried that the school will soon stop offering courses.

APIC has continued to urge teachers and students to find other schools while indefinitely delaying the enrollment procedures for the next semester, Taiwan Higher Education Union secretary-general Chen Cheng-liang (陳政亮) said.

“While most universities and colleges would have their enrollment forms and course syllabi for the fall semester ready by now, APIC has still not issued any of those to students,” Chen said.

The school has not paid salaries to faculty since May, Huang said, adding that students were told the school might no longer be able to pay utility bills.

“Ultimately, we hope the ministry will take control of the school’s board, as that would be the most effective way to solve the school’s problems,” Chen said.

“What is happening to APIC is an example of what might happen to every other school that would transfer or close down under the government’s proposed private university reform and closure bill,” he said.

“The ministry must do the right thing to protect the rights of teachers and students, and make it clear to other schools that it will not tolerate malfeasance,” he added.

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