Updated: Pathetic royalist “university” IV

6 09 2017

Chulalongkorn University seems to be panicked, having realized that its international reputation is being self-trashed by its administration’s reaction to kerfuffle over its concocted royalist initiation ceremony for first-year students that descended into chaos a royalist botany assistant professor assaulted a student who was walking out.

Blaming the head of the Student Council, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal and barely concealing its ’s desire to be rid of the student activist, the administration kicked him and his colleagues off the elected Student Council. It was an administration coup.

Perhaps the administration has noted that Chulalongkorn’s international ranking in a recent list has it languishing in the 600-800 level, which is probably being generous and where its been languishing for the past three years. Given that reputation matters, its recent royalist ritual suicide is not helping that ranking.

At its royalist website, hidden away under an “archive,” the administration has several announcements, all trying to repair “damage” but actually revealing how puerile it is.

We won’t reproduce it all, but highlight a couple of points. It begins:

This statement is written in response to many news reports, articles and commentaries that appeared in the international press in relation to the recent ruling at Chulalongkorn University on a group of students for their disciplinary misconduct associated with their disruptive behavior at a university’s function in early August.  While we appreciate that members of the international press see our internal matter as newsworthy, there are a few clarifications that may deserve your consideration.

The implication is that Thais don’t need a “response,” that there was “disruptive behavior” and that the foreign media should butt out of  an “internal matter.”

None of this is true. Thai university administrators should not have impunity when they do stupid and costly things, even if it is in the name of royalist exaltation, and the international media will report such events that illustrate Thailand’s descent into feudalism. Watching the video of the event, the only disruption seems to be by university staff like the botanist.

At least the administration admits that “university is obliged to get its story straight…”. It might help if that story wasn’t a concoction. It claims to not have revealed student names; it has done so from the beginning. (Not that the students seem concerned by this, releasing documents and suchlike themselves.)

The administrators then claim that its ruling against the students “followed all routine procedures of the university’s disciplinary protocols.” It claims “[i]ndependent facts-finding and deliberation” which hardly seems likely. A bit like the rest of Thailand’s “independent” agencies.

It then tries to argue that “paying obeisance (thawai bangkhom)” is different from prostration. Readers can decide if this is fudging the issue.

Most remarkably, the administrators then seek to manipulate the role of the thug-professor, saying,

… an investigation and disciplinary procedure are underway for the lecturer who lost his temper and restrained [they mean assaulted] one of the students during the incident on 3 August.  While what happened was a shameful episode for the university, it is an act of one person and bears no relevance to the university’s policy.  This lecturer resigned from his position as assistant to the president (student affairs) since 7 August 2017, a few days after the unfortunate incident.

Of course, the same leniency cannot be given to the students and the administration seeks to separate the then assistant to the president (student affairs) from the university.

They then grumble that (foreign) journalists have not been “accurate, unbiased, and fair to our situation.”  And they again claim that this is a “purely an internal affairs that should not be linked with divisive politics and suppression of dissent which seem to be the dominant discourse or news frame presented in western and local English-language media.”

The impression is that the administrators think that “divisive politics and suppression of dissent” is an invention of foreign reporters.

Remarkably, they then appeal to conservative and royalist notions of “Thainess,” a favorite claim by all of Thailand’s anti-democrats, fascists and ultra-nationalists, including The Dictator:

Our university has a long history and a royal lineage that are imbued in our tradition and beliefs that may be uncommon to western liberal values.  Much that we support liberalism and freedom of expression, we also have our cultural roots and harmony to balance.

Their “position,” they say, “represents difference and diversity that is much valued in the West,” except that no difference and diversity was permitted from the students involved.

Administered by dunces, it is little wonder that this royalist kindergarten rank so low among the universities of the world.

Update: For more discussion of the illiberal royalism of Chulalongkorn University, see Prachatai’s take on the university’s anti-democratic declaration.


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11 09 2017
Pathetic royalist “university” V | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Having panicked several times, the people administering Chulalongkorn University seem to be spooked again. The problem is that it is their own actions, and the reactions to them, that cause the panic and spooking. […]

11 09 2017
Pathetic royalist “university” V | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Having panicked several times, the people administering Chulalongkorn University seem to be spooked again. The problem is that it is their own actions, and the reactions to them, that cause the panic and spooking. […]

9 09 2018
Limiting academic freedom II | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] freedom. To take one example, Chulalongkorn has several times prevented students from protesting (here and here). Several academics, including from Thammasat and Chulalongkorn have had to flee Thailand […]

9 09 2018
Limiting academic freedom II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] freedom. To take one example, Chulalongkorn has several times prevented students from protesting (here and here). Several academics, including from Thammasat and Chulalongkorn have had to flee Thailand […]




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