By Ann Maxon / Staff reporter
National Taiwan University （NTU） yesterday downplayed allegations of a conflict of interest between its president-elect, Kuan Chung-ming （管中閔）, and a member of the president election committee, after media reports revealed the two are colleagues at Taiwan Mobile Co.
The CommonWealth Magazine Web site on Friday last week reported that, according to a tip-off, Kuan, who is also an independent director of Taiwan Mobile Co, was elected president because of votes he received from three company executives on the committee: Taiwan Mobile Co vice chairman Richard Tsai （蔡明興）, Quanta president C.C. Leung （梁次震） and Yuanta Futures president Chou Hsiao-ling （周筱玲）. The report led to allegations of a conflict of interest.
However, the votes were anonymous, the committee said in a statement yesterday.
The committee has 21 members, including three representatives from the Ministry of Education, one student representative and 17 members elected through university council meetings, it said.
Tsai did not violate the university’s regulations, since he is not a spouse, first-to-third-degree relative, thesis adviser or student of the candidate, and there is no evidence suggesting he would be biased toward Kuan, the statement said.
The university’s registration form does not require candidates to specify their roles at private companies so it cannot be said that Kuan was trying to hide that from the institution, president election committee spokeswoman Yuan Hsiao-wei （袁孝維） said.
According to the university’s regulations, Kuan would have to resign from his post at for-profit organizations to be eligible for NTU president, she added.
Later yesterday, Kuan issued a brief statement saying that he would resign from all posts he holds at for-profit organizations before taking up the role as NTU president.
The ministry is to review the election process of university presidents as required by law, Department of Personnel head Chen Kun-yuan （陳焜元） said, adding that the ministry would decide whether to approve Kuan’s appointment when it receives the document from the university.
Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan and Lin Hsiao-yun