22 July 2024

As university council members are threatening an en masse resignation to protest against the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s requirement for  them to declare their assets and those of their spouses and children, university staff members and general affairs officials are lining up in its support.

The coordinating centre of state university staff members and representatives of the teaching staff members and officials of 38 Rajabhat universities issued a joint statement after a meeting on Saturday protesting against any attempt by the government to rescind the  announcement on assets declaration by council and board members of universities, institutes and state funds.

Coordinator of the group, Dr Suthee Wattanamongkolsuk, said they heard that Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, the government’s chief legal advisor, would recommend Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in his capacity as the head of the National Council for Peace and Order to invoke Section 44 of the interim Constitution to rescind the controversial announcement following protest from university council members and threats of mass resignations.

Dr Suthee said the group representing the university staff members is supportive of the anti-graft body for doing the right thing to ensure good governance and transparency in university councils.

He accused Dr Wissanu of interfering with the work of the anti-graft agency in checking the operations of university councils to ensure good governance.

Meanwhile, Dr Viroj Limkhaisaeng, rector of Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, said on Saturday the commission’s extension of deadline until January 31 was not enough an incentive for university council members to change their mind of not quitting.

He warned that there would be chaos if council members of several universities resign en masse as their resignation would affect the approval of the graduation of students or the approval of new curricula which requires the council’s consent.

Earlier, the commission has agreed to extend the deadline for the declaration of wealth for another 60 days to the end of January so the university council members will have more time to prepare to prepare their assets statements and those of their spouses and children who are under 20.

Some council members who disagree with the commission’s announcement reasoned that the declaration of their wealth and the fact that the public can have access to the information about the declared assets may compromise their safety because criminal elements may target them.