National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) on Thursday said it is amending the lyrics of the school anthem ahead of its centennial celebrations in 2022, adding that any changes would be nonpolitical and a result of a consensus among students, the faculty and alumni.
Students first raised the issue in 2018, calling on the school to “make” a new, centennial anthem, said project convener Ko Hao-jen (柯皓仁), the university’s chief librarian.
The project has changed from creating a new anthem to modifying the current one, Ko added.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
Founded as a school to train teachers, NTNU has evolved into a general university, with the addition of colleges of science, management and technology among others, Ko said.
In light of this transition, certain phrases in the lyrics, such as “the Normal [university] is accorded the utmost respect” and “the heavy responsibility of a teacher” are out of date, Ko said.
Some students also object to phrases such as “to be joyous when reunited with the motherland,” Ko said, adding that it is not a sentiment shared by all.
If left unchanged, it would continue to haunt the university, he said, adding that students in 2016 protested during a musical festival at the school to advocate for the change, he said.
This is a point of contention across generations of NTNU students, Ko said.
To prevent further conflict, the project has said that it would not target specific controversial lyrics, he said.
The project seeks to remake the anthem into something more befitting the university’s current functions and future development, he added.
To ensure a diversity of opinions and be as inclusive as possible, the project includes faculty from different age groups as well as student representatives, he said.
The group has thus far agreed that the anthem’s musical composition would remain the same to ensure unity of past and future students when singing it together, but they have not yet decided whether changes in the lyrics should be put to a vote or to hire a professional lyricists, Ko said.
The project would maintain the utmost neutrality and seek a consensus among faculty, students and alumni, he added.
A university alumnus, surnamed Feng (馮), said that they have not even heard, much less sung, the school anthem.
However, Feng said it is good that the university is willing to change the lyrics, as it demonstrates a progressive attitude.
Another alumnus, surnamed Hsu (許), said that they supported the changes to make the anthem more modern.
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