June 04, 2013
Taiwan: University administration extorting payments from faculty members in return for greater job security
A university in central Taiwan has been demanding that its faculty members bring in outside sources of income into the university coffers in exchange for helping ensure their continued employment. Faculty members who do not receive research funding or other grants from outside the university are expected to find opportunities for and establish academic-enterprise cooperation agreements with businesses, while the university collects ten percent of this secondary income claiming "administrative costs," regardless of whether the individual faculty members or the business with which they cooperate require the university's administrative assistance. Those who do not receive research funding or work for businesses off campus are severely penalized by either having half of their customary year end bonus cut by half and forbidden to work part-time off campus as part of receiving a second tier performance evaluation rating, or even receive zero bonus and no customary annual pay rise for having a third tier performance evaluation rating, and will be dismissed altogether after receiving this level of the performance evaluation.
While the budget for research grants has been cut drastically and most faculty members at this university are not very interested in pursuing research opportunities, regardless of whether they could even acquire funding after they had applied for it, very many individual faculty members have resorted to establishing fraudulent "academic enterprise agreements" while the university administration turns a blind eye to this form of fraud while gladly collecting what is akin to extortion.
This has become a widespread practice in the country, and there has been talk in government circles about how this type of fraud has become prevalent, but it remains to be seen whether anything is going to be done, and there has not been even any talk about confronting university administrations for compelling faculty members to make such involuntary cash donations to their employers.