MOE has say in public university president appointment: Cabinet

2018/05/13 18:09:10 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇)/CNA file photo

Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇)/CNA file photo

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) The Ministry of Education (MOE) has the power of appointment of the president of a public university and therefore certainly has the authority to approve or reject such an appointment, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said Sunday.

Hsu was responding to former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who said that the ministry has only the right to confirm the appointment of the president of a public university but does not have the authority to approve or reject such an appointment.

Lu and former Premier Simon Chang (張善政) of the opposition Kuomintang jointly issued a statement earlier that day, calling on the ministry to finalize the appointment of National Taiwan University (NTU) President-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) in accordance with the law.

According to the regulations of Taiwan's University Act, to appoint a public university president, the school should organize a presidential selection committee and select a candidate through a public process, after which, the MOE should finalize the appointment, Lu said.

The NTU presidential selection committee elected Kuan Jan. 5 to head NTU, but the MOE did not confirm his appointment to take the post on Feb. 1 as scheduled, as a string of allegations against Kuan arose, including plagiarism, conflict of interest and a flawed selection process.

The MOE decided April 27 not to approve his election on the grounds that the election process was flawed, and asked the NTU presidential selection committee to hold a new election, leaving the ministry and the university at a stalemate on the issue.

On Saturday, NTU convened a school affairs committee meeting to address the issue, during which the committee made a final decision that the MOE should quickly appoint Kuan in accordance with the law.

However, in a statement issued late Saturday, the MOE again called on NTU to move on the matter and urged the university to restart the process of selecting a new president.

On Sunday, Hsu said the power of appointment of public university presidents lies with the MOE and it of course has the power to approve or reject such appointments.

Meanwhile, Kuan expressed hope that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) can come up with a solution to the controversy within seven days before her second anniversary in office May 20, so that the development of Taiwan's higher education sector can continue.

Kuan told reporters that the NTU school affairs committee meeting's resolution was in line with the NTU presidential selection committee's decision and that as the NTU president-elect, he respects the decision of the selection committee.

For the sake of safeguarding university autonomy and Taiwanese values, Kuan also called on the government to respect the university's decision.

(By Phoenix Hsu and Evelyn Kao)
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