Magna Charta Universitatum (MCU 2020) Signatories
The Magna Charta Universitatum (MCU) was originally signed by 388 rectors and heads of universities from all over Europe and beyond on 18 September 1988, the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna. It contains principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy as a guideline for good governance and self-understanding of universities. In 2018 a multi-national group was formed with consideration of gender equity. It was then comprised of 4 males and 4 females who represented different regions of the world including Professor Dr.Chanita Ruskpollmuang, Vice President of Siam University. The mission of this group was to review the MCU 1988 in the context of contemporary challenges and concerns. It was adopted by the Magna Charta Observatory (MCO) Governing Council in July 2020.
MCU 2020 reaffirms that the universities must acknowledge that they have a responsibility to engage with and respond to the aspirations and challenges of the world and to the communities they serve, to benefit humanity and contribute to sustainability. Intellectual and moral autonomy is the hallmark of any university and a precondition for the fulfilment of its responsibilities to society. That independence needs to be recognised and protected by governments and society at large, and defended vigorously by institutions themselves.
To summarize how to fulfill the principles, values and responsibilities laid in MCU 2020, the signatories require a reliable social contract with civil society, one which supports pursuit of the highest possible quality of academic work, with full respect for institutional autonomy. Academic freedom is still respected as in MCU 1988. Civic role and responsibility is expected so that universities make social impact to local communities and global society. The MCU 2020 emphAasized that this impact can be conceptualized as the question of responsibility of universities towards sustainability in which they operate.
MCU 2020 believes that universities are non-discriminatory spaces of tolerance and respect where diversity of perspectives flourishes and where inclusivity, anchored in principles of equity and fairness, prevails. They therefore commit themselves to advance equity and fairness in all aspects of academic life including admissions, hiring and promotion practices. Education is a human right, a public good, and should be available to all. Universities recognise that learning is a lifelong activity with tertiary education as one part of a continuum. Within that one part, universities serve diverse learners at all stages of their lives.
Siam University has applied for MCO membership in 2020 after we fulfiled the requirement by having student representative in our University academic committee. This is a big move for the Thai universities which normally are restricted by rules and regulations. Being a private university has become our advantage. Siam University is the only signatory Thai university for the Magna Charta Universitatum 2020. As of June 17, 2021, MCU 2020 has been signed by 904 universities from 88 countries.
By signing the Magna Charta Universitatum 2020, Siam University declares our commitment to the original MCU 1988 and the MCU 2020 in order to strengthen the role of the university in the preservation of the planet and promoting health, prosperity, and enlightenment around the world. In addition, the University has draft a new Code of Ethics which includes the MCU 1988 and 2020 principles especially academic freedom, principles on corruption and bribery, stakeholder engagement, and good governance. Noticeingly, these values are related to SDG 16. The Student Union held a meeting on March 15, 2021 to discuss the statements in the draft version. After holding public hearings from the administrators, faculty members, staff and students, the University Council has approved the 2021 Code of Ethics.
The Student Union of Siam University
Student Union of Siam University comprises of elected members from each Faculty in the University. Their activities were supported by the Office of Student Affairs which was set up on August 15, 1973. The University believes that it is imperatives to recognize to “student voices”. As such, Siam University is the only Thai university that representative from the Student Union is active member of University Academic Council. Student Union, Student Clubs, and “Siam Ambassador” have continuously worked, both in the campus and the society-at-large, on projects related to sustainability, either social, economic or environment. During Covid-19 lockdown, they have provided voluntary work to the community and the University, especially at the vaccination center in The Mall Bangkhae Shopping Center and hospitel at the Pullman Hotel, Grand Howard. Some of them have volunteered to work with the Faculty of Nursing in following up the former patients to guarantee their wellbeing. Another important task this year is the public hearing of the 2021 Code of Ethics.
Students in Law and Civil Enforcement
Siam University offers Bachelor and Master degree programs in Law of which their gradutes have performed outstanding work such as elected President of the Lawyers Council under the Royal Patronage. The Faculty also has strong collaboration with the Provincial Police Regional Offices. As for related disciplines, prior to the establishment of the Faculty of Political Science in 2020, we accepted students in Public Administration graduate program. It should also be noted that Siam University is the pioneer in offering international program in MAPD - Master of Arts in Peace Studies and Diplomacy. Sustainability-related courses are offered in all of the above programs. According to the Registration Office, the Faculty of Law attracts many students as one can see that there are 542, 769, and 1,145 enrolled students in 2019, 2020, and 2021. The Faculty of Political Science starts their enrollment of students in undergraduate and graduate levels in 2020 with 44 students. In 2021, there are 57 students in the Faculty. As for Public Administration graduate program, there were 13 students and 12 graduates in 2019. In adition, the MAPD attracts 19, 26, and 32 students from around the world.
Number of Students and Graduates in Law and Civil Enforcement
SDG 16 - promote just,peaceful, and inclusive society – is considered one of our prioritized misssions. Besides becoming the MCU 2020 signatories, we have a commitment to work on sustainability with temples especially the two prominent temples of the country; namely, Yannawa Temple and Sraket Rajavaravihara Temple. Our MoU with the abbot of Sraket Rajavaravihara Temple, Chair of Institute of Buddhist Management for Happiness and Peace (IBHAP) and public-private partners on 21 December 2020 strengthened our work and collaboration in sustainable development. Since its establishment, the IBHAP has broadcasted series of lecture on SDGs and related topic for the public on every Sundays. Our Vice President, Professor Dr. Chanita Ruskpollmuang has been invited to be a advising member of the institution and was invited to give virtual public lecture on “University as a Driving Force for SDGs” in Peace Talk#18 on Jauary 17, 2021. We also participate in their volunteer program.
Siam University is one of a few universities in Thailand which holds an annual event to celebrate the United Nations International Peace Day on September 21. Our first event starts in 2014 of which our good friends from embassies and international organizations preside together with our Thai and international students and staff. In 2018, Siam University celebrated the Peace Day on Sustainable Development which 21 international students from 21 countries made 17 SDGs Resolutions. In 2019, we braodcasted a video from Secretary-General on the occasion. This year, on 21 September 2021, Siam University celebrated the International Peace Day with our faculty members, Thai and international students under the theme “Recovering Better For a Sustainable and Equtable World”. Youtube: https://hi-in.facebook.com/SiamUniversityBangkok/videos/international-day-of-peace/223753586457771/?__so__=permalink&__rv__=related_videos
Building Just and Inclusive Society
Siam University has initiated many activities for the better world including our Student Leadership Camp which aims at mutual understanding among nations as well as sharing good practices. The virtual event, theme “The New Leadership for our Sustainable Future” was held online during August 31 – September 2, 2021. It was cohosted with SEAMEO-SEPS and Tokai University, Japan. The 40 participants were students from 8 countries – Japan, PR China, India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal Bangladesh and Thailand. In addition, Siam University provides opportunities and promotes our students with civic-minded and responsibilities. In the latest 2021 event of “โครงการสร้างเด็กและเยาวชนต้นแบบ รู้ รัก สามัคคี และสำนึกความเป็นไทย”, organized by the National Identity Office, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister's Office, our student team has been selected as top 50.
In addition, members of the Faculty of Law have been appointed in several lawmaking committees. For instance, Dr. Ekachai chainuvati has been working on drafting the Thai version of the Convention against Torture and International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Regarding outreach prgrams, the Faculty of Law has an agreement with the Provincial Police Region 3 and 7 to reskill and upkill their police forces by accepting them to further their study and attend workshops. As for community engagement, our faculty members and students are also active. An example of the activities is the “เยาวชนหัวใจกฎหมาย” (Youth with Law at Heart) project which aims to provide legal literacy. Basic knowledge about law and legal issues is given while we try to nurture them with skills and characteristics of citizenship such as honesty and civic responsiblilty as it is imperatives for just society and civic engagement. During August to December 2020, the Faculty of Law organized projects in 2 schools in Thonburi district - Dipangkornwittayapat (Watnoinai) school and Chaichimpleewittayakhom school. The project is expected to organize annually.