Thammasat reconsiders ban on 112 activities

Thammasat rector Somkit Lertpaithoon said he will ask executives to reconsider the decision to prohibit the use of the campus for activities related to the lese majeste law.

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Thammasat University students shine light on the famous dome at Tha Phra Chan campus in a symbolic gesture to rid it of ‘‘darkness during the daytime’’. THITI WANNAMONTHA

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Thammasat to reconsider ban

University says row widening social rifts

Pradit Ruangdit & Achara Ashayagachat

Thammasat University's executive committee will reconsider its decision to prohibit the use of the campus for activities related to the lese majeste law.

Thammasat rector Somkit Lertpaithoon said he will ask executives to reconsider the decision to prohibit such activities on the grounds as the issue has widened divisions at the university.

Mr Somkit said he will propose a rethink on the ban at a meeting of the university executives on Feb 13.

The ban resulted from a campaign by the Nitirat group, a gathering of academics seeking an amendment to Article 112 of the Criminal Code, better known as the lese majeste law.

This movement has drawn significant opposition, leading the university to ban all campaigning relating to Article 112, by Nitirat or others, on its grounds, for fear violence could erupt between those opposed to the law and those seeking to keep it.

But critics of the ban say it is violating freedom of expression.

Nearly 200 protesters, including students, turned up at Thammasat University yesterday in opposition to the ban.

They layed wreaths and pointed portable lights at the university's famous dome at Tha Phra Chan campus in a symbolic gesture to rid it of "darkness during the daytime".

Thammasat law student Panitan Prueksakasemsuk said while he understood the executives' fears of potential violence, he strongly disagreed with the ban as it compromised academic debate and freedom of expression.

This was especially important, he said, as the university was founded on a principle of liberty.

However, Mr Somkit insisted the university's libertarian spirit remained.

He pointed out that students and lecturers are still free to discuss Article 112 and they are not prohibited from filing petitions either supporting or opposing the move to amend the law.

He added that the university will not pursue disciplinary investigations against Thammasat lecturers who are among the Nitirat group.

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symbolic – representing something important เป็นสัญญาณ เป็นสัญลักษณ์
gesture – something that you do or say to show a particular feeling or intention ท่าที
reconsider – to think again about a decision in order to decide whether you should change it พิจารณาอีกครั้ง
row – a serious disagreement about an issue between people, organisations or countries  การทะเลาะวิวาท
rift – a serious disagreement between two people or groups ความแตกร้าว
prohibit – to not allow; to ban ห้าม
lese majeste – the crime of offending, threatening or showing disrespect for a member of the royal family หมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ
rector – the person in charge in some universities, schools, colleges and universities อธิการบดี
grounds – an area of land around a building or set of buildings บริเวณ, สถานที่
issue – a subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น
propose – to suggest an idea for a group to consider เสนอ
ban – an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something การห้าม
campaign – a series of actions intended to produce political or social change การรณรงค์
gathering – an occasion when many people come together as a group การรวมตัว
academic – someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job นักวิชาการ
amendment – a change made to a law or agreement, in this case, to the constitution การแก้ไขกฎหมาย ในที่นี้หมายถึงการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญ
article – part of a legal document, agreement or law that deals with a particular point มาตรา
criminal code – the systems of laws dealing with crimes and their punishment ประมวลกฎหมายอาญา
lese majeste – the crime of offending, threatening or showing disrespect for a member of the royal family หมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ
movement – a group of people who share the same aim and work together to achieve it การเคลื่อนไหวเพื่อวัตถุประสงค์ทางการเมือง
significant – large or important enough to have an effect or to be noticed  ซึ่งมีความหมาย
opposition – strong disagreement with a plan or policy ความขัดแย้ง
violence – physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง
erupt – to start suddenly ปะทุขึ้น
critics – people who don’t like something and who state their opinion about it  นักวิจารณ์
violate – to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด
turn up – to come somewhere มาถึง
wreath – a circle of flowers or leaves พวงหรีด
portable – easy to carry or move, so that you can use it in different places หิ้วได้, พกพาได้
potential – possible ความเป็นไปได้
compromise – to risk harming or losing something important
academic – relating to education เชิงวิชาการ
debate – a discussion in which people or groups state different opinions about a subject การอภิปราย, การโต้วาที, การถกเถียง
principle – a basic rule or belief about what is right หลักการ
liberty – the freedom to live as you wish or go where you want อิสรภาพ, สิทธิขั้นพื้นฐาน
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true, even when other people will not believe you ยืนกราน
libertarian – of the belief that people should have the freedom to do and think as they like  เกี่ยวกับเสรีนิยม, เกี่ยวกับลัทธเสรีนิยม
file a petition – to formally give a document signed by many people to someone in power asking them to do something ยื่นคำร้อง
pursue – to try to achieve something ดำเนินตาม, พยายามเพื่อให้ได้มาซึ่ง
disciplinary – related to the punishment of people who do not obey the rules  การลงโทษเนื่องจากการฝ่าฝืนวินัย หรือระเบียบ
investigation – the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something การสอบสวน

About the author

columnist
Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager