Some university tutors in Hong Kong have offered to donate HK$30,000 in total for a scholarship program named “The Rainbow Umbrella for Social Justice”, Ming Pao Daily News reported Monday.
The scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student from the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Department of English Language and Literature, the report said. It will be given to a student who comes up with the best dissertation on social justice subjects.
The move is believed to be in response to the recent decision by property developer Chun Wo Development Holdings Ltd (0711.HK) to cease scholarship sponsorship to four local universities. Chun Wo said it was withdrawing the scholarship as it was not happy with the stance of universities and their leaders toward the Occupy protest movement.
Professor Wee Lian Hee of Baptist University’s Department of English Language and Literature, who has been helping the tutors on the new scholarship, was quoted as saying that the tutors’ actions were inspired by the students’ quest for social justice.
The initial funding, which was increased from HK$20,000 to HK$30,000, will be handed out across ten years in equal installments of HK$3,000 each. “They would like to remind students that it is a long-term fight in the quest for social justice, and not just a movement that might last three, five or seven months,” Wee added.
The tutors would like to remain anonymous as they believe the contributions are very significant. However, Wee revealed that the donors come from different countries. Wee said it is unclear yet if HKBU would accept the contribution.
The tutors have been following closely the classroom boycott and occupation protests, and have provided alternate classes for students who missed out regular lessons. On October 2, when rumors were spreading that the police might clear out the assembly sites, the tutors returned to the campus in order to provide students help in case of emergency.
Wee stressed that the donations do not constitute a political statement. Different persons may have different interpretations of social justice, he said, adding that the word “Rainbow” in the scholarship name reflects the fact that there is more than one color in the spectrum.
Wee questioned Chun Wo’s decision to withdraw its scholarship, saying that it is only natural that a vice-chancellor protects his students. The withdrawal is also unfair to those students who have not participated in the student movement, he said.
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