National Taiwan University (NTU) professor Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) took office as the university’s president at a ceremony yesterday amid lingering concerns over his controversial election.
Kuan thanked faculty, students and others for “supporting university autonomy” and “making the inauguration ceremony possible,” but did not comment on the controversy that delayed his inauguration for nearly a year.
While many people would think the position represents the peak of his career, he considered it an “opportunity to repay my debt to NTU,” Kuan said.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Reiterating his vision for the university, he said that his priorities are enhancing its global competitiveness and promoting innovation, adding that he would do his best to collaborate with faculty and students to build “a brighter future” for the university.
Kuan was on Jan. 5 last year elected NTU president and was originally scheduled to take office the next month, but the Ministry of Education in April refused to appoint him, citing an alleged conflict of interest, as Kuan was an independent director on Taiwan Mobile’s board and company vice president Richard Tsai (蔡明興) sat on the university’s election committee.
It also found that Kuan had been on the company’s board and a member of its salary committee before the university approved his application to take up the positions.
The ministry ordered a new election, but the university refused to comply, saying that the order lacked legal basis.
On Dec. 24, then-minister of education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮), who took office in July last year after two education ministers stepped down over the controversy, approved Kuan’s appointment, but requested that the university submit within three months a review of the controversies and propose solutions.
“With regard to some issues that arose during the presidential election, we hope the university would be open to different opinions and make improvements,” said Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟), who presided over the ceremony.
He also expressed the hope that as president, Kuan would work on communicating with faculty and students with different opinions and clarify public concerns in a timely manner.
The ceremony was attended by hundreds of people, including faculty, students, alumni and journalists, who filled the venue about an hour before the ceremony began.
About 200 police officers were deployed to maintain order, but the only protester was a professor who shouted “shame“ and gave a thumb-down sign when Kuan appeared on stage.
Although Kuan has been formally sworn in, his presidency remains uncertain due to a number of factors.
NTU professor Wu Ruey-beei (吳瑞北), who ran for president alongside Kuan, in September filed an administrative lawsuit against the ministry and NTU, requesting that the university repeat the election as there had been a potential conflict of interest in the election process.
The first court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 29.
Wu on Monday also appealed a Taipei High Administrative Court ruling that Kuan’s inauguration should not be postponed until the lawsuit reached a conclusion.
Kuan is under investigation for allegedly illegally working part-time for a magazine while serving as a minister without portfolio. If found guilty, he could be impeached by the Control Yuan.
Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi