Hong Kong University supports freedom of speech and encourages students to express their opinions and participate in social activities, vice-chancellor Peter Mathieson said Wednesday.
Students are encouraged to express themselves in a “peaceful and constructive” manner, Mathieson said, suggesting that students and staff are free to participate in protests such as Occupy Central.
The university does not force attendance at classes, but students should remember that if they choose to skip classes “they’ll be missing educational opportunities, and there may be consequences of that,” RTHK quoted Mathieson as saying.
Teachers may discuss with students possible rescheduling of classes if a situation arises, he said.
The university will try to make sure that students can express their opinion and enjoy freedom of speech, but students have to take responsibility for their behavior, the HKU chief said.
Mathieson said he is “neutral” toward the Occupy Central movement. However, he pledged to ensure legal assistance to students if they are arrested during protests, the report said.
Choi Sau-yuk, chairman of HKU Convocation — a entity comprising HKU graduates and teachers — encouraged students to be more actively engaged in social activities to sharpen their leadership and communication skills. However, he added that he is not encouraging students to skip classes.
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