NTU selection committee hits back at Education Ministry

Taipei, The National Taiwan University presidential selection committee remained defiant Monday over what it sees as political interference in the school's affairs, rejecting the Ministry of Education's (MOE) request that it start again the process to select a new president.

Committee spokesman Yuan Hsiao-wei (???) said Monday the body has stated clearly that it handled the selection of Kuan Chung-ming (???) as NTU president in accordance with relevant regulations and will not launch a new process unless the MOE can provide a legitimate reason why it would be necessary.

The ministry on Friday rejected the appointment of Kuan as NTU president, contending that there was a conflict of interest in the process, and asked that the university start the search process again.

Education Minister Wu Maw-kuen (???) said Monday that university presidents are selected, not elected and that the MOE was not obligated to approve whoever was chosen.

The ministry has the responsibility to ensure that the most suitable and best university leader is picked through a well-defined selection process and strict selection criteria while exercising its powers of appointment, Wu said.

He denied any political interference in the ministry's handling of the matter, saying that neither the president nor the premier have spoken with him about NTU's selection of its president since he took office on April 19.

He also argued that the ministry does respect university autonomy and does not intervene in university governance.

NTU said in reaction to the MOE's decision on Friday that the ministry's refusal to approve Kuan was in fact a case of political interference and a violation of university autonomy.

Kuan was selected on Jan. 5 to head NTU, but the Education Ministry would not confirm his appointment to take his post on Feb. 1 as scheduled.

He has been accused of plagiarism, conflict of interest during the selection process and illegally teaching in China since he was elected.

Kuan served in the previous Kuomintang administration as head of the National Development Council (and the the Council for Economic Planning and Development which preceded it) from 2013 to 2015.

The NTU president-designate dismissed the many charges over the weekend, saying that they were simply excuses made by a government that does not want him in the job.

In a Facebook post on Monday, he also lashed out at the government for attacking university and academic autonomy.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel