Taiwanese students wear flip flops at graduation ceremony

NTNU professor blasts students on his Facebook page

NTNU graduates wearing flipflops (from Shin-Cheng Yeh Facebook page).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Students attending their graduation at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU, 台師大) wore flip flops with their toga, drawing criticism from a professor who put pictures on his Facebook page.

Yeh Shin-cheng (葉欣誠), the director of the Graduate Institute of Environmental Education at the university, said he attended a graduation ceremony at the College of Science Friday where he found out that it was becoming more and more common that students, and even Ph.D. graduates, wore flip flops.

“The schools don’t demand anything, the teachers don’t say anything, the students don’t mind, this is a kind of situation in education (today),” Yeh wrote on his Facebook page.

He noted that there was no marked torrential rain falling at the time of the ceremony, so the weather should not have been an excuse not to wear proper shoes. Commentators said that if it rained, they could carry shoes with them in a bag and change into them just before entering university or before the start of the ceremony.

NTNU responded by pointing out that it requested students at official graduation ceremonies to wear togas and suitable attire, which did not include shorts, jeans and flip flops. The statement added however that the ceremony mentioned by Yeh had been an internal affair organized by one college, and therefore did not fall under general university rules.

The wearing of flip flops had been unsuitable, but it would not take any further action, the university reportedly said.

Yeh later removed the picture and comments, but the Chinese-language media widely reported the case.

Online reactions varied, with some wondering whether those graduates would also be wearing flip flops to job interviews or to their wedding. Others said Taiwanese focused too much on looks and outward impressions.