National Taiwan University (NTU) professor emeritus Wang Chiu-sen (王秋森) yesterday called on the university affairs committee, which is to meet today, to discuss the suitability of Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as the president of Taiwan’s most prestigious university.
Since his nomination in 2017, Kuan has been accused of breaching research ethics, being involved in a conflict of interest as an independent director of Taiwan Mobile Co and contravening the law by holding a teaching position at Xiamen University in China.
At its core, university education should help an individual foster a positive personality, and as such, the person leading the university should be morally impeccable and academically exceptional, Wang said.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Kuan is neither, exhibiting a gross lack of discipline by regularly submitting articles under a pseudonym for the now-discontinued Chinese-language Next Magazine and a blatant disregard for regulations that required him to notify the university of his off-campus commitments, Wang said.
“That such contraventions were committed time and again, without any thought for betterment, demonstrates truly despicable behavior,” Wang said, citing a Control Yuan report.
By remaining silent about all allegations and dodging the Control Yuan’s invitations to make a statement, Kuan not only failed to clear his name, but also tarnished the university’s reputation, Wang said.
Ministry of Education Department of Personnel Director Chen Kun-yuan (陳焜元) said that before Kuan’s nomination could be accepted, the university has to hand in a report about it by Monday.
The ministry is considering amending the Regulations for Administrating the Criteria for Selection of the Commission of National University Presidents (國立大學校長遴選委員會組織及運作辦法) to diversify the qualifications required for university presidents, ensure that committees are more professional and implement measures to resolve disputes, Chen said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) also said that Kuan’s lack of response regarding doubts over his suitability undermined his eligibility to head the university.
Meanwhile, New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said that the phrase “university autonomy” should not be used to protect illegal goings on or abuses of power.
A university should be first to act if its professors are found moonlighting without authorization and failing that, it is the ministry’s responsibility to do so, Huang said.
Huang called on the ministry to stop protecting NTU and provide legal oversight, adding that the ministry has not taken its responsibility of policing universities seriously enough.
Kuan previously said that “the ministry has cleared any doubts” regarding his suitability as university president.
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