Dissertation-gate: Tsai accuser publishes president's student record on Facebook

Professor Hwan C. Lin skeptical Tsai able to graduate in only four years

Tsai's student record at LSE, image modified by Professor Hwan C. Lin

Tsai's student record at LSE, image modified by Professor Hwan C. Lin

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — One of the leading voices in the “Dissertation-gate” scandal surrounding President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday (Oct. 7) published new documents obtained from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Professor Hwan C. Lin (林環牆) of the University of North Carolina on Monday published student records from Tsai’s time at LSE. Hwan asked whether the student records could shed more light on the authenticity of Tsai’s doctoral dissertation, which was submitted in 1984 and recently made available to the public by the Tsai administration.

Hwan claims that the student records raise more questions about her LSE doctoral dissertation and Ph.D. program. Hwan’s suspicions, initially made public in a Facebook post before being reported by Storm media, revolve around the dates of Tsai's enrollment and graduation.

Hwan claims there is some discrepancy in the dates because Tsai was able to complete her Ph.D. in a relatively short period of time, having only been enrolled at LSE from October 1980 until February 1984. Hwan points to a note on her student records that indicates she withdrew from classes in November 1982 because of financial difficulties.

Upon cursory glance, this appears to be at odds with the expected date of completion (“June '82”) and the course length (“21 months”) noted on her student record. It would appear that Tsai did not complete her coursework in the originally anticipated “21-month” time frame and must have finished her coursework during 1983.

Hwan is skeptical that Tsai was able to complete her coursework and dissertation in such a short period, which included her withdrawal from at least one class in the fall semester of 1982. According to the record, Tsai requested that her research be examined in June 1983, and after defending her dissertation sometime in the fall, she must have taken some time to revise her work before submitting it for her doctorate degree in February 1984.

In a Facebook post, Hwan expresses his disbelief that Tsai was able to receive her Ph.D. degree in 1984.

Print copy of Tsai's dissertation (Ministry of Education photo)