Defense university to be fined for expelling HIV-positive student

Health Minister Lin Tzou-yien (???) upheld Saturday a decision by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to impose a NT$1 million (US$31,900) fine on National Defense University for discriminating against an HIV-positive student in 2013.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) said that notice of the fine will be issued to the university on Aug. 29 at the earliest.

The CDC under the MOHW decided to impose the fine on the university Aug. 15, and its decision was backed up by the ministry after a review of the case, the ministry said. It marked the first time the CDC has issued a fine on the grounds of education discrimination.

In response, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi (???) said the ministry -- which administers National Defense University -- will file an administrative appeal or take other measures.

He repeated that the university did not discriminate against the student.

The defense ministry has backed the university's decision to expel the HIV-positive student in 2013, saying last week that the decision was taken because of the young man's "character flaws" rather than his disease.

The student, identified by the pseudonym Ah Li, tested positive for HIV in 2012 at a hospital, which passed on the results to his school without his permission.

After the university received the test results, it allegedly banned Ah Li from swimming classes, forced him to wash his eating utensils separately from other students, tried repeatedly to convince him to drop out and threatened to tell his family about his disease if he refused to do so.

In 2013, Ah Li was expelled after he received several demerits for what the school said was poor attitude and conduct.

Ah Li reported the matter to the health ministry, which accused the university of discriminating against him because of his disease and expelling him for concocted reasons.

The issue went viral on the media when the CDC decided to slap the fine on the university for forcing an HIV-positive student out of school.

After President Tsai Ing-wen (???) expressed support for the student on Aug. 20, the defense ministry said earlier this week that it has decided to suspend its attempt to recoup paid tuition and other school fees from the student.

The ministry will also issue the expelled student the certificate of his study at the university and transcript, according to the ministry.

Source: Focus Taiwan