About 200 people yesterday rallied outside the Taipei Guest House in Taipei demanding that the government respect National Taiwan University’s (NTU) autonomy, as controversy over the appointment of NTU president-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) shows no signs of dying down.
“We are strongly opposed to the political interference that has obstructed the legal NTU presidential election process and prevented Kuan from taking office,” NTU School of Veterinary Medicine professor Chou Chung-hsi (周崇熙) said.
Chou led NTU students, faculty and alumni in chanting slogans such as “keep your political hands off our campus” and “we want a president.”
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
NTU political science professor Su Hung-dah (蘇宏達) said he joined the rally not because he is personally in favor of Kuan, but because his election was legal.
“The election was legitimate and the result ought to be respected by the government,” he said.
Kuan was elected on Jan. 5 to succeed Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池), who chose not to serve another term when his first term expired in June last year.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
However, Kuan has since been accused of plagiarism and conflict of interest, which cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election process.
Members of the university’s election committee on Jan. 31 decided to uphold the election result, but the Ministry of Education was not satisfied with the selection committee’s findings and has demanded that the allegations be cleared up before it confirms Kuan’s appointment.
Ministry Department of Personnel Director Chen Kun-yuan (陳焜元) said that the election committee “has yet to answer the questions” about the conflict-of-interest allegation.
Kuan allegedly did not inform the committee that he was then an independent member of Taiwan Mobile’s board of directors.
Taiwan Mobile vice chairman Richard Tsai (蔡明興) is on the NTU election committee.
According to the committee meeting minutes from Jan. 31, members said that Kuan’s position on the board was public knowledge.
The election committee said that they were unable to determine whether the election result would have been different had they known that Kuan served in the role.
“From the meeting records, we could not determine whether the information might have influenced the election result,” Chen said. “This is a question that either the university or the election committee need to answer.”
Meanwhile, other university students, faculty and alumni have criticized the selection committee for playing down the allegations against Kuan.
A petition initiated by NTU Affairs Council representatives has reached the signature threshold to demand that the council call a special meeting to investigate the dispute, pending a response from the University’s Office of the Secretariat.
Chen said the ministry would pay close attention to how the Affairs Council handles the issue.
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