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United Daily News: Prevailing corruption among professors

United Daily News: Prevailing corruption among professors

A professor from National Cheng Kung University in Tainan was indicted recently for inflating research expenses in her claim for reimbursement under a project financed by the National Science Council.
The defendant complained during the prosecutors' investigation that "a lot of people do the same thing." Investigators should look into the indicted professor's claim that she was just following a practice prevalent among professors, because her actions may only by the tip of an iceberg.
Local news reports cited a National Science Council official as saying that an unnamed male professor even claimed reimbursement for expenses for sanitary napkins. But this report was never verified.
Professors may claim compensation for research expenses without limit but the expenses should be somehow related to their studies, at least on the surface. From what we know, there are loopholes in the current system that offer professors chances to grease their palms.
For example, in terms of consumables and miscellaneous expenses, the leader of a research project may well collude with suppliers to claim reimbursement with false invoices.
Listing family members as research assistants to claim wages as part of the project is another way to line one's pockets, but it's not the most ridiculous claim, because it is not explicitly forbidden in existing regulations. The worst is when professors claim wages for assistants who simply don't exist.
We are not saying that these are practices followed by most professors or that they highlight the low morale of scholars. We are simply pointing out that the flawed mechanism used to finance research budgets has paved the way for the waste of resources.
Scholars who debase themselves by siphoning off research funds should not be forgiven. But the money they have taken pales in comparison to the funds wasted because of the program's poor design and lack of efficiency.
Scholars used to be the most outspoken critics of corruption in the government. They should now live up to the standards they once required of officials. (April 4, 2010) (By Maubo Chang)




Updated : 2020-12-06 07:18 GMT+08:00