Taiwan students split on boycotting classes for Sunflower Movement

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Some students have started to express hoping of returning to school after a petition that was launched by college students to boycott classes in support of the "Sunflower Student Movement" has begun affecting their right to be educated.

It has been eight days since the students began occupying the Legislative Yuan, and by Monday, more than 3,100 people and 50 student groups signed the petition, according to local media.

However, according to some college professors, some students started to express a desire to return to school, but they were to afraid to make their voices heard.

Liu Yia-ling, the head of National Chengchi University's Department of Sociology, said that any policies will attract diverse opinions in democratic countries, and college teachers and professors are just like the public in that they can have different opinions on the same policy.

"It should be up to the students to decide if they want to skip classes and participate in the social movements and up to the professors to decide if they want to support their students to participate social movements," said Liu.

"I do not agree that the education minister, deans or principles (can) demand what actions the students or professors should do," Lin said.

Chang Shao-his, a professor at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), said that the students of NTNU should not be absent from this wave of revolution, and there will be activities held for four days in a row to celebrate the week of democracy.

Meanwhile, a student surnamed Chen from National Taiwan University's (NTU) College of Public Health said that the boycotting of classes does not greatly affect the protest, and even if there are many people boycotting classes and going to the Legislative Yuan, it will not change any decisions made by school authorities.

Another NTU student surnamed Lo said that no matter which side people are on regarding the protest, they all choose what they want to believe in, and no one really cares about what is good for Taiwan anymore, so it is better to stay at school now.

No Such Thing as Boycotting Class: MOE

Deputy Minister of Education Chen Der-hua yesterday said that it is a personal decision for students to go or not go to class, but any "boycotts" of class will still be considered skipping class.

Chen said that for the Ministry of Education (MOE), if the students do not attend their classes, they should ask for leave according to the regulations.

Some college departments asked students to vote if they want to continue the courses, Chen said, and he believes that it is inappropriate because it would make the students who wish to continue their classes afraid to speak up.