Student Government of National Taiwan University to Dissolve Its Department of Sustainability

The controversial decision was made after the university just promised to divest from carbon intensive and highly polluting industries, and set up a carbon neutral road map last year.

Although the current president has promised to keep the department of sustainability during the election campaign in May, rumors of the decision to dissolve the department already existed in July, when the newly elected government was holding its internal meeting. The original members of the department and other environmental groups on campus were not consulted during the process and were only notified in early August. After a month of negotiation the student government still would not alter this decision.

The controversial decision came, ironically, after the department of sustainability helped the students on campus secure some of the most monumental victories of higher education sustainable governance in Taiwan. During the academic year 2019/20, National Taiwan University promised to divest from carbon intensive and highly polluting industries, set up a carbon neutral road map, and began serious discussions on a campus-wide solar PV installation program.

National Taiwan University promised to divest from carbon intensive and highly polluting industries last November.

Yet these promises remain to be realized. The original members of the department and other environmental groups on campus now fear that, by dissolving the department, the student government might send the wrong message to the university, making them believe that sustainability is not an important issue on the priority list of the students’ mind. This might have negative impacts on the continual commitment of the sustainability goals the university has set up.

Why Does the Student Government Make This Decision?

Since the last academic year, the parliament in the student government of National Taiwan University has been urging a “reorganization” of the executive branch; namely, some parliament members wished to diminish the size and complexity of it.

Under the reorganized structure, sustainable affairs will be dealt in a working group under the department of academy. The new student government claims that this downgrading will not affect its devotion to sustainable issues on the campus. Nevertheless, since it does not recruit the former members of the department of sustainability nor environmental group members into this working group, its capacity to ensure such promise should still be held under critical scrutiny.

Disclaimer: A joint statement (in Chinese) from the original members of the department of sustainability and other environmental groups and students was delivered on Friday to clarify the situation and their stance. The author of this article has also signed the statement.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Tony Yen

Tony Yen

A Taiwanese student who studied Renewable Energy in Freiburg. Now studying smart distribution grids / energy systems in Trondheim.