NTU objects to MOE's decision not to confirm Kuan as president(update)

04/28/2018 08:39 PM
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Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔, CNA file photo)
Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔, CNA file photo)

Taipei, April 28 (CNA) National Taiwan University (NTU) on Saturday expressed strong objection and regret over the education ministry's decision the previous day not to confirm the appointment of Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as the school's president.

In a statement, NTU said it had adhered to all the relevant regulations throughout the process of selecting Kuan, contrary to the reasons given by the Ministry of Education (MOE) for not confirming him.

The MOE's decision was regrettable and NTU strongly objects to it, the statement said.

The previous day, Deputy Education Minister Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟) cited conflict of interest as the main factor in the ministry's decision not to confirm Kuan's appointment.

Lin offered no specifics but was referring to the fact that Kuan was an independent director on the board of Taiwan Mobile during the selection period, and Taiwan Mobile Vice Chairman Richard Tsai (蔡明興) sat on the NTU president selection committee.

On the question of whether NTU will accept the ministry's decision and start a new selection process, the university said only that it will "act in accordance with the law" once it receives a written notice of the MOE's decision.

On Friday, Minister of Education Wu Maw-kuen (吳茂昆) said his ministry would step in if any legal issues arose in the new selection process.

He said Kuan had violated NTU regulations by withholding information about his role as an independent director of Taiwan Mobile while the company's vice chairman Tsai was sitting on the NTU president selection committee.

It is now up to the committee to verify the conflict of interest and decide whether Kuan should be named again as candidate for the position, Wu said.

Kuan, who was scheduled to take office on Feb. 1, had declined to comment on the MOE's decision, until Saturday afternoon, when he posted a lengthy statement on Facebook under the heading, "We must win back university autonomy."

He said that the MOE's degradation of university autonomy was historical but he would not give up the fight because it could lead to a return to authoritarianism.

He said his stance on the matter had nothing to do with the NTU presidency but rather was focused on university autonomy.

Meanwhile, Wang Fan-shen (王汎森), former deputy head of Academia Sinica and one of the candidates for NTU president who lost to Kuan, said in a text message Friday that he would not stand again for the position.

Another candidate, former vice president of National Tsing Hua University Wu Cheng-wen (吳誠文), also said he would not be willing to contend again for the position if the selection process is marred by controversy and outside intervention.

At the university, the student government is calling for the implementation of what it says are much needed reforms and is urging the NTU administration not to wait until a new president takes office.

The reforms include introducing more gender-friendly facilities and clarifying the regulations pertaining to rental of the school's gym and sports facilities, the student government said.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Kuan-lin Liu)


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