National Taiwan University (NTU) late on Friday said that it would convene an extraordinary university council meeting after the Lunar New Year holiday, as more than one-fifth of council members called for a meeting to resolve a controversy surrounding university president-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔).
The purpose of the meeting is to investigate Kuan’s alleged conflict of interest, as the NTU election committee has no legal basis for launching a formal investigation into the issue, the council’s student representative Tung Yu-wen (童昱文) said.
Tung had on Feb. 1 launched a petition to hold an extraordinary council meeting.
It was reported early last month that Kuan was an independent director at Taiwan Mobile and that company vice chairman Richard Tsai (蔡明興) was a member of the NTU election committee.
More doubt was cast on Kuan’s eligibility later in the month, when he was accused of plagiarizing a student’s master’s thesis in a conference paper he coauthored with National Chi Nan University professor Chen Chien-liang (陳建良).
The committee cannot investigate conflicts of interest that involve committee members unless it receives a request from a candidate to do so, according to the university’s regulations, Tung said.
The meeting would also provide an opportunity to discuss ways to correct procedural flaws in the election process, he said.
Tung said that he and many other NTU professors believe that the school should also investigate Kuan’s alleged plagiarism, but added that he does not think that discussing the incident at the meeting would be helpful.
“Even if the plagiarism issue were discussed at the extraordinary council meeting, the council’s decision would have no effect on the committee that is in charge of the issue,” he said.
The school must convene an extraordinary university council meeting within 15 days if requested by one-fifth of council members, according to regulations.
Tung’s petition, which gained the support of more than 35 university council representatives within one day, was submitted to the school on Monday last week.
The university has asked the petition organizer to collect the signatures of those who support it and specify the issues they want to discuss at the meeting, NTU secretary-general Lin Ta-te (林達德) said.
Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said that the ministry has asked NTU to clarify several issues regarding Kuan’s eligibility, including the alleged plagiarism, since a meeting transcript the school submitted to the ministry is not detailed.
Additional reporting by We Po-hsuan and CNA
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