Wed, Dec 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Alliance pushes for Kuan’s appointment as NTU president

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Lee Hong-yuan, center, a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) Department of Civil Engineering, and members of the NTU Action Alliance for University Autonomy urge the Ministry of Education to approve the NTU president-elect during a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

The Action Alliance for University Autonomy yesterday urged Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) to meet with National Taiwan University’s (NTU) lecturers and students to break the stalemate over the institute’s presidential election and appoint Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as its president.

“Please visit the NTU campus and tell us why the ministry made the decision [not to appoint Kuan]. Talk to us,” NTU chemistry department assistant professor Hsu Chih-cheng (徐丞志) told a news conference on the NTU’s campus in Taipei.

If the ministry does not respond by 5pm tomorrow, the alliance would escalate its approach to make the ministry understand “why the school needs a president,” he said.

Chou Chung-hsi (周崇熙), a School of Veterinary Medicine professor and one of the alliance’s founders, said the group would not accept “any government-designated president.”

The ministry made up the need for a re-election so that it could designate its own president, he said, urging members of the public to support the group’s fight against “political interference on campus.”

“It has been almost a year since we founded the alliance. We will continue to advocate that the university should select its own president and seek a consensus among faculty members and students,” he said.

Kuan was on Jan. 5 elected NTU president and was scheduled to take office on Feb. 1, but the Ministry of Education in April refused to appoint him on the grounds that there was a conflict of interest in the election process, as Kuan was an independent director at Taiwan Mobile Co and company vice president Richard Tsai (蔡明興) was on the election committee.

The ministry requested a re-election, but the university refused and filed an administrative appeal asking that the ministry honor the election results and appoint Kuan.

A group of NTU students and Kuan himself filed administrative appeals requesting that the ministry appoint him.

In an effort to resolve the standoff, Yeh, who took office in July after two education ministers resigned over the controversy, asked the university to only relaunch parts of the election process that were affected by the conflict of interest and do so without Tsai’s participation, but the university again refused.

Kuan, who has rarely appeared in public events since the controversy arose in January, attended yesterday’s news conference.

He sat in the back row of the audience and declined all requests for comment from reporters.

Meanwhile, NTU reiterated its position on the matter in a statement issued yesterday.

“We ask the Ministry of Education to respect the autonomy and independence of the university presidential election committee and swiftly appoint the school’s new president,” it said.

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