Seven University of Hong Kong board members urged governing body to reverse its decision to ban dozens of students from campus pending police investigation into struggling student union of the university, and to deal with the matter in accordance with the regulations in force.
In an open letter on Thursday, the group denounced the decision of the council, which did not follow the usual disciplinary procedures, as “incorrect according to legal principles”.
The council decided at an emergency meeting on Wednesday to ban 32 students involved in adopting a statement that mourned the death of a man who committed suicide after stabbing a police officer on July 1.
In his decision, he described the campus ban as an “immediate risk containment measure”, citing “serious legal and reputational risks”.
“As members of the board, we believe this decision is inappropriate according to legal principles. By not listening to the students themselves, it goes against the principles of due process and natural justice, ”the letter read.
He added that the students’ actions were not contrary to the provisions of the University of Hong Kong ordinance.
“We believe that this decision essentially amounts to severe disciplinary action against the students,” he continued. The university will resume classes in September, meaning the ban will ban 32 undergraduates from attending classes.
The statement by the student union in early July, which mourned the “sacrifice” of Leung Kin-fai, 50, had drawn strong criticism from university officials and management and had already prompted student leaders to withdraw. the declaration, to apologize and resign.
The withdrawal of the statement, however, did not prevent the National Security Police from launching an investigation into the student body and raiding its premises the following week, just hours after the city leader, Carrie Lam called for “further action” against the students involved.
The letter also accused the council of using risk control as an “excuse” and of failing to meet the public’s expectations of the institution.
“Since the leaders of the student union retracted his statement, apologized and resigned, the university is using the excuse of ‘risk control’ to arbitrarily deprive students of their opportunity to learn, and this does not match. the expectations of the public of a university to teach by giving advice, ”reads the letter.
The seven signatories are Priscilla Chiu, Mak Tung-wing, King Chan Ka-kin, Spencer Chan Shiu-bun, Alex Lai Chun-hung, Alex Chan Wo-shun and Charles Lai Chun-wai.
Law professor Eric Cheung left the ruling council immediately after the ban was announced, expressing sadness at her decision and questioning whether she had followed due process.
Before Wednesday’s decision, the university had already cut ties with the student union, reclaimed its premises and demolished pro-democracy posters on campus.
|IIf you experience negative feelings, please call: The Samaritans 2896 0000 (24 hours, multilingual), Suicide Prevention Center 2382 0000 or the Social Welfare Department 2343 2255. The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology offers a WhatsApp hotline in English and Chinese : 6218 1084. See also: HKFP’s Complete Guide to Mental Health Services in Hong Kong.|