From: Richard John <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, May 18, 2011 at 4:01 PM
Subject: A formal appeal for the resignation of the current university president based on whitewashing human rights abuses at National Cheng Kung University
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THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
18 May 2011
In 1999, university officials falsely accused me of plagiarism. They didn't investigate the claim or even inform me of the accusation until after I was dismissed. For obvious reasons, the Ministry of Education Appeals Committee rejected that claim.
Yet an entry on the National Cheng Kung University web site (http://news-en.secr.ncku.edu.tw/files/13-1083-78482-1.php), dated May 4, 2011, includes the text:
"Moreover, in view of the fact that the work authored by Associate Professor De Canio was involved in plagiarism and sold in public which went in violation of Articles 91 and 94 of the Intellectual Property Rights, NCKU could not continue his employment."
Most people would read that text to mean the plagiarism claim was a fact, not a malicious accusation. Suppose someone spreads a false rumor thirteen years ago that a female professor was a prostitute. That accusation was never properly investigated and was formally rejected in a legal ruling.
But thirteen years later, on the university's web page, the following sentence appears:
"Moreover, in view of the fact that the professor was involved in prostitution and public indecency which went in violation of Articles 88 and 89 of the Legal Decency Code, NCKU could not continue her employment."
Other than the accusation, there is no difference in the wording of that sentence and the one on the NCKU web page. What does it say but that the woman was a prostitute? And the following text in no way contradicts the claim. It merely says the professor appealed to a committee (not necessarily on the basis of the prostitution claim) and was reinstated! Presumably she was a prostitute but reinstated.
What is disingenuous about the text quoted here is, instead of admitting liability, that the university falsely accused me of plagiarism besides other false accusations (that I failed a student unfairly, etc.), the university implies the accusation of plagiarism was true!
If that is not a devious and possibly libelous use of language I don't know what is. Pretending to issue an apology to me ("NCKU still expresses gratitude for his devotion to teaching in the past twenty years"), the university is doing the opposite. It's not merely whitewashing its actions, but justifying them, while further compromising my reputation; since now those accusations are widely circulated as facts.
This is what the university has done with all its human rights violations. Instead of admitting, based on court and Ministry rulings, that it did something wrong, the NCKU web site makes it look like the university followed laws and due process of law throughout the dismissal process!
So my "resentment" over "being declined for employment renewal in 1999," is a whitewashed way of saying I was illegally dismissed. If this is not Orwellian Newspeak, what is?
Nor was the case "dealt with by NCKU following the resolution of the Teacher Grievances Committee of the Ministry of Education," as the NCKU web site claims. "Dealt with" implies "properly handled according to legal remedy." But no official was punished for wrongdoing, there was no compensation, and no apology or even (as this web site shows) an admission of wrongdoing. So how was the case "dealt with"?
If a student with a torn dress and bodily bruises complains her teacher tried to rape her, but I merely tell her not to "resent" a teacher's amorous overtures, can I say I "dealt with" the case?
As for a similar abuse of language, Dr. Hwung should not regret I was "displeased," as he quaintly words it; rather he should regret that the university committed grievous human rights violations that would result in expulsion or forced resignations from most universities in the civilized world.
Nor am I asking people to be "perfect," as Dr. Hwung mystifies the issue of legal rights violations. The law doesn't require perfection, only compliance, in the form of legal statutes or Ministry and court rulings. Based on all three criteria, the university's actions were, and in fact are, illegal, since the university continues to refuse legal remedy, as its web site plainly shows.
The fact that neither the Ministry of Education nor the courts elected to punish NCKU officials is precisely the reason why they arrogantly post their smokescreen of words on the official NCKU web site with the confidence they can get away with it in Taiwan.
The apologist for human rights violations, who calls himself the "Secretariat," blows more smoke on the web site by claiming the university "followed the required procedure."
How did soliciting and circulating false accusations follow "the required procedure"? Do you officials have a moral sense? You have children. Do you allow them to gossip about their classmates and circulate false rumors about them, the way the courts do? Then Taiwan has no future, and certainly no future as a democracy.
The fact that my dismissal, despite numerous rights violations, was "approved" by the university "as a result of multiple rounds of review" only shows the sad state of affairs at National Cheng Kung University, which calls itself a top-ranked university in Taiwan.
For the reasons stated above, I am formally requesting that the Ministry of Education start action to remove the current university president, Hwung-Hweng Hwung, from office. Frankly, I think the entire administration at National Cheng Kung University should be formally dissolved and all committees and officials reappointed under Ministry control and invigilation, with each official and committee member required to swear an oath to obey the law; otherwise law will never be established at this university; and, frankly, by the time this case is formally resolved, with international help, I believe NCKU will lose its reputation as a top-ranked university in Taiwan.
Richard de Canio
formerly, Associate Professor
Department of Foreign Languages and Literature
National Cheng Kung University