From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Taiwan Synod Overrules Theological College Board

From "Char and David Alexander" <>
Date Fri, 22 Aug 2003 14:26:22 -0400

Title:Taiwan Synod Overturns College Board Decsion to Suspend Principal
Taiwan Church News 2683, 2684,& 2685, July 28, August 4 & August 11, 2003
Reported by :Li Hsin Ren, Lin Yi-ying, Translated and rewritten by David

   At an emergency meeting on August 1st the executive committee of the
Northern Synod of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan overturned a decision of
the Board of Directors of Taiwan Theological College and Seminary to suspend
the school's president for three months.
   The school had been in turmoil since last February when a group of six
faculty members, led by academic dean Cheng Yang-en, submitted a joint letter
of resignation, to be effective at the end of the Spring term.	The group
cited numerous grievances and reasons for their action, including a demand
that the college board dismiss Rev. Liao Siang-sin, the school president.
Neither the board nor the president accepted the resignation letter, saying
that procedural errors had made it invalid.  The six continued serving in
their academic posts until June, during which time the board conducted
hearings and negotiations to resolve outstanding issues.
   In a surprise action early in June, Mr. Liao accepted the resignations and
proceeded to prepare to open the fall semester without the services of the
resigned teachers.  Late that month the board met and proposed a four step
plan to resolve the situation.	The teachers were instructed to make formal
public apology to Rev. Liao. Once an apology had been made,  the moderator of
the Northern Synod was to mediate the dispute.	If there was no resolution,
the president would be suspended and others would be brought in to conduct
college affairs.
   The teachers issued an apology on June 27th.  Rev. Liao rejected the
document and mediation efforts failed. Late in July the board took action to
formally suspend the president and appointed board secretary, Lo Lian-sheng
acting president.  Reasons given for the suspension included Rev. Liao's
disrespect of the board, the atmosphere of dispute in the school, and
administrative errors. Mr. Liao refused to accept the decision and asked the
Synod, which "owns" the school, for a ruling.
   On August 1st the synod's executive committee met and overruled the
board.	It reinstated Mr. Liao as president to the end of his term on July
31st, 2004.  It also appointed Dr. Cheng to a one year contract and
the remaining 5 "resigned teachers" to their original contract provisions.
   The group of six has spoken out on the action, declaring it unjust.	They
say that personnel matters at the school are the prerogative of the board.
They also cited the failure of the synod to take into account the
administrative errors for which the board had suspended Rev. Liao.  They
the board's response to the synod's astounding action.
   In the meantime, the school announced an incoming class of 34 new
Thirteen of the new class are enrolled for a 3 year programme leading to the
Master of Divinity degree, and the remaining 21 to various graduate and
undergraduate programmes in Theology, Education, Music and Social Work.

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