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September 22, 2017

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University head chides students over flood antics

President of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) Mike Y.K. Guu (古源光)wrote a solemn letter to students who recorded their antics at the flooded campus yesterday.

After video recordings of students swimming in the "flooded pools" or photos of students playing in floodwater was released in the news, the president wrote a letter to the whole campus, pleading them to "act like adults."

Guu said this disastrous heavy downpour has caused severe damage, claiming many lives in Taiwan, including a NPUST alumni who died in a rescue effort. The information shown in the news was quite depressing, but not quite as depressing as seeing the students thoughtlessly treating these natural disasters as "fun," says Gu.

The flooding in front of the campus was caused by heavy downpours which have been falling since June 11. Water levels came up to knee high and classes were canceled. Having been granted one extra holiday, some students decided to spend their time in flooded waters. Some students swam in the waters, some took pictures in their graduation robes and some even took out inflatable toys.

Guu mentions in his letter that the videos shown by media outlets give parents and officials a misinterpretation that the school encourages these activities. He said the teachers had to reassure parents repeatedly that these actions were merely a way for students to show their creativity.

In his letter, Guu said students should show more consideration to the victims of the disaster instead of just satisfying their own desire to have fun. He points out that creativity is good when it is used in the right places, such as academics or professional skills, but not in areas like natural disasters, which may cause a threat to their safety among other concerns.

Students may think that the water is harmless, given the shallow depth, but Guu earnestly reminds students that these mucky waters come from farms, villages, fish farms, betel nut plantations, sewage treatment facilities and is highly contaminated with all sorts of bacteria.

Guu hopes the students will act more responsibly through their actions, taking into consideration the hard working school officials, security guards and other authorities. Guu says that these officials have braved the heavy rain, fighting to keep the traffic running smoothly, despite all the flooding in the front campus.

Guu also apologized to students in the letter over the inconvenience caused by the floods. He said that the school has applied many times to the government for school renovation to prevent flooded hallways, and will fight harder to successfully petition the government.

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