Decision to limit professors’ TV appearances delayed

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Soochow University, whose head Liu Chao-shiaun has been designated premier of the incoming presidential administration, has delayed a decision on a controversial proposal that many of its teaching staff consider an infringement of their freedom of speech.

Representatives to Soochow’s school affairs meeting yesterday could not agree on a proposal to limit the number of appearances that its professors could make on TV political talk shows. The representatives voted to have the proposal sent to the teachers evaluation committee for discussion before returning to the school affairs meeting for a final decision. Lee Kui-ying, chief secretary of the Taipei university, explained that the proposal is meant to protect the school from numerous complaints from students and alumni about the politically biased comments that professors make on TV. Many students have also questioned whether their professors are giving too much of their time to TV talks shows and are neglecting their teaching, Lee said. The proposal restricts professors to four appearances on TV political talk shows every month. The professors will have to submit applications for extra appearances.

But it is not the number of appearances that is being disputed, as critics are against any control of such kinds. Hsu Yung-ming, one of the Soochow professors who would fall victim if the proposed rules were adopted, said the school is not in a position to impose any control on their teaching staff’s activities after school.

“If appearing on TV has to be monitored, then what teachers eat or do daily would need to be investigated too,” said Hsu, an assistant professor of political science. According to the United Evening News, Hsu appeared on TV 103 days during an investigation by the university of its professors’ participation in TV talk shows over a period of 144 days.