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May 29, 2017

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Chiao Tung University principal clarifies controversial apology

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- National Chiao Tung University Principal Wu Yen-hua (吳妍華) yesterday said that the speech in which she apologized for not educating students well was just her personal introspection as an educator.

Many National Chiao Tung University alumni attended an event to create a fund for police in Hsinchu and Miaoli on Thursday, and Wu said that she should apologize for not teaching students properly.

Wu's speech triggered disputes, and some professors and students launched a petition to express opposition to her speech.

Wu issued a press release yesterday, saying that the Sunflower Movement is actually a reflection of long-term social issues like the disparity between the poor and the rich, the low salaries available to younger generations and fresh graduates' insecurity and anxiety about the future.

According to Wu's statements, the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement issue was only a symptom of other social issues, and as an educator, Wu said, she encourages students to care for minorities and to think independently.

However, Wu said, students should also be able to think rationally and have empathy when considering the people around them.

According to Wu, her speech was just her personal thoughts on Taiwan's persistent social issues, which may be attributed to the fact that educators like her or people who shoulder the responsibility to make critical policies do not play their roles well.

Wu said that she apologized on Thursday for not being responsible enough as an educator after reviewing all the social issues in Taiwan.

Students occupied the Legislative Yuan and planned the rally on March 30, Wu said, and at those events many police officers were dispatched to maintain security and order at the scene, which was why she apologized to police.

Wu said that she did not apologize because students from National Chiao Tung University did something that embarrassed the school.

It was good to know that students care about important national issues and have the vision to make changes in society, Wu said. However, she is also worried that some students might be punished by the authorities for breaking laws while trying to make their voices heard.

National Taiwan University President Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池), National Sun Yat-sen University Principal Yang Hung-Duen (楊弘敦), National Yang-Ming University President Liang Kung-yee (梁賡義), National Chung Hsing University President Der-tsai Lee (李德財), National Chiao Tung University Principal Wu Yen-hua (吳妍華) and National Dong Hwa University President Wu Mao-kun (吳茂昆) released a joint statement during the Sunflower Movement calling for a peaceful resolution to the protests.

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