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(釋字第 563 號 )      友善列印PRINT  
Interpretation
J.Y.
Interpretation
NO.563 
Date 2003/7/25
Issue Does either formulating a Qualification Exam Outline or punishing a student with expulsion exceed the scope of university self-government and violate the Constitution?
Holding   Freedom of teaching under Article 11 of the Constitution bestows upon universities the freedom to instruct, to conduct research and to learn, and the right of self-government in teaching, research, and other academic matters. In supervising universities, the government, according to Article 162 of the Constitution, shall formulate statutes to the extent that they follow the principle of university self-government. Legislative bodies shall not utilize the law to compel universities to establish particular units and infringe upon their autonomy of internal organization. Administrative agencies shall not utilize ordinances to interfere with the curriculum and syllabi of the universities, thus infringing upon the freedom of instruction and research. The standard of legislative and administrative policies, to the extent consistent with university self-government, shall be properly constrained (See J.Y. Interpretations Nos. 380 and No. 450).

  According to Article 6, Paragraph 1, of the Act Governing the Conferment of Academic Degrees amended and promulgated on April 27, 1994, “after completing the required courses, presenting a thesis, and passing the final examination given by the Committee on Master’s Degree Examination,” the graduate student shall receive a degree. This is the basic regulation of degree conferment as part of the government’s supervision over universities. Since university self-government is institutionally protected by the Constitution, guaranteeing that the conferment of a degree maintains a certain standard, universities shall formulate related qualifications and conditions, to the extent reasonable and necessary, for those obtaining a degree. On June 14, 1996, National Chengchi University passed a Master’s Degree Examination Outline Regulation: A graduate student from each master program shall pass the qualification exam before presenting his/her thesis (Article 2, Paragraph 1). The Department of Ethnology of this school also amended its Qualification Exam Outline for master’s degree candidates. Establishing a subject test for master’s degree candidates as part of the Qualification Exam Outline did not exceed the scope of university self-government; thus, there is no issue of applicability of Article 23 of the Constitution.

  The University Act, as amended and promulgated on January 5, 1994, does not explicitly regulated student expulsion and its related matters. To maintain academic quality and nurture students’ character, universities have the power and responsibility to examine students’ academic achievement and conduct. According to the regulations stipulated by the procedures, the punishment of expulsion for students whose grades are below a certain standard or whose conduct has significantly deviated from proper behavior belongs to the category of university self-government. Legislative bodies shall formulate statutes to properly regulate, to the reasonable extent that universities are still entitled to the right of self-government, nation-wide university academic matters. National Chengchi University and its Department of Ethnology followed the above-mentioned specification: A degree candidate for Master of Ethnology, who does not pass after taking the subject test twice, should be expelled. Such regulation is a matter of self-government of this school and does not contradict the meaning of the aforesaid constitutional principle. Universities administering the punishment of expulsion have a great influence on the rights of the student. Certainly, the formulation and execution of related regulations shall follow proper procedures and their content should be reasonably appropriate.
Reasoning   University self-government is within the scope protected by the freedom of teaching under Article 11 of the Constitution. Universities are entitled to the right of self-government in teaching, research, learning, and other academic matters, such as internal organization, curriculum models, research topics, scholastic aptitude evaluations, examination rules, and graduation requirements. In supervising universities, the government, according to Article 162 of the Constitution, shall formulate statutes to the extent that they follow the principle of university self-government in order to prevent improper intervention in university matters, further develop universities’ characteristics, and achieve their purpose of increasing knowledge and nurturing talent. Legislative bodies shall not utilize the law to compel universities to establish particular units and infringe upon their autonomy of internal organization. Administrative agencies shall not utilize ordinances to interfere with the curriculum and syllabi of the universities, thus infringing upon the freedom of instruction and research. The standard of legislative and administrative policies, to the extent consistent with university self-government, shall be properly constrained. The agency-in-charge of education is also merely in the position of exercising legitimate supervision over university operations (See J.Y. Interpretations Nos. 380 and 450).

  The purpose of universities is to do academic research, educate individuals, promote culture, serve the society, and encourage the nation’s development (University Act, Article 1, Paragraph 1). As educational institutions, universities have the mission to encourage national morality and cultivate students’ good character (See Article 158 of the Constitution and the Education Basic Act, Article 2, Paragraph 2). The University Act, amended and promulgated on January 5, 1994, does not explicitly regulate the matter of student expulsion. To fulfill the purpose of a college education, universities have the power and responsibility to examine students’ academic achievement and conduct. According to the regulations stipulated by the procedures, the punishment of expulsion for students whose grades are below a certain standard or whose conduct has significantly deviated from proper behavior belongs to the category of university self-government. Legislative bodies shall formulate statutes to properly regulate, to the reasonable extent that universities are still entitled to the right of self-government, nation-wide university academic matters. National Chengchi University and its Department of Ethnology followed the above-mentioned specification: A degree candidate for Master of Ethnology, who does not pass after taking the subject test twice, should be expelled. Such regulation is a matter of self-government of this school and does not contradict the meaning of the aforesaid constitutional principle.

  .According to the Act Governing the Conferment of Academic Degrees, amended and promulgated on May 6, 1983, a graduate student shall “study for more than two years, finish the required classes and thesis, pass all the subjects, and be selected as a candidate for a master’s degree” (Article 4, Paragraph 1); moreover, “the candidate must pass the final examination and be qualified by the Ministry of Education” (Article 4, Paragraph 2), then the university will confer upon him/her a master’s degree. The above provision was amended on April 27, 1994, to read: “graduate students from universities’ master’s degree programs, after completing the required courses, presenting a thesis, and passing the final examination given by the Committee on Master’s Degree Examination, shall receive a master’s degree” (Article 6, Paragraph 1). The purpose was to preclude the qualification procedure by the Ministry of Education, enhance the right of self-government of the universities in conferring a degree, and set the conferment of a degree as a basic regulation. Such clause “pass all the subjects” has been removed, and “the candidate must pass the final examination” has been amended to “passing the final examination given by the Committee on Master’s Degree Examination.” Although the aforesaid changes have been made and since university self-government is institutionally protected by the Constitution, guaranteeing that the conferment of a degree maintains a certain standard, universities shall formulate related qualifications and conditions, to the extent reasonable and necessary, for those obtaining a degree. The University Act, Article 25, Paragraph 2, which states: “For graduate students from the Master’s or Ph.D. programs, who have fulfilled the study requirements and passed all the subjects, such university shall confer a Master’s or a Ph.D. degree, respectively,” follows the same principle. During the Conference of School Affairs in National Chengchi University on June 14, 1996, the school passed a Master’s Degree Examination Outline Regulation: A graduate student from each master’s degree program shall pass the qualification exam before presenting his/her thesis (Article 2, Paragraph 1). The Department of Ethnology from this school also amended its Qualification Exam Outline for master’s degree candidates on September 19, 1996. Establishing a subject test for master’s degree candidates as part of the Qualification Exam Outline did not exceed the scope of university self-government; thus, there is no issue of applicability of Article 23 of the Constitution.

  The students’ right to learn and be educated shall be protected by the government (Education Basic Act, Article 8, Paragraph 2). Universities administering the punishment of expulsion or of any other kind of punishment alter the status of the student and his or her right to be educated, which is directly associated with the rights of the student (See J.Y. Interpretation No. 382). When punishing a student with expulsion according to university regulations, the cause of expulsion and rules of related matters shall be reasonably appropriate, and their formulation and execution shall follow proper procedures. Article 17, Paragraph 1, of the University Act states: “To enhance the educational effect of universities, an elected student representative shall attend the Conference of School Affairs and any other conference associated with academics, life, and formulation of rules related to reward and punishment.” Paragraph 2 from the same Article states: “Universities shall safeguard and assist students to form autonomous associations, manage any affairs related to student learning, life, and rights in school, and establish a system for student petitions to protect students’ rights.” Certainly, universities shall follow the rules related to the formulation of regulations and student petitions.

' Translated by Wei-Feng Huang of THY Taiwan International Law Offices.
Opinion
(Files)
Chinese only
 

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