The rejection by the University of Hong Kong council of former law dean Johannes Chan Man-mun as pro vice chancellor was based on an unfair evaluation that failed to consider his merits, the HKU faculty of law said.
In a rare statement issued Sunday, the faculty said Chan’s colleagues respect him not just because he is “nice” but especially for his excellent leadership and management, as well as his character and noble sentiments, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
The statement came after Billy Fung Jing-en, president of the HKU Students’ Union and a council member, told media that during the deliberations over the appointment, council member Arthur Li Kwok-cheung said Chan had no doctoral degree and therefore was not qualified to be a pro vice chancellor.
Fung quoted Li as saying Chan might have been appointed dean of law just because he was a nice guy.
Li said through his secretary Sunday night that he has no intention to respond to the statement.
The faculty praised Chan for his relentless efforts to help it to achieve high rankings in the QS World University Rankings during his term as dean and to become an excellent research centre in western, Chinese and international law.
The statement said Chan’s status as the only honorary Senior Counsel in Hong Kong is evidence that he is highly regarded in legal circles.
It also said his academic achievements have been recognized internationally.
Meanwhile, a group formed by of HKU alumni and members of the public expressed its disappointment with the council by protesting on campus Sunday, demanding council chairman Edward Leong Che-hung and 12 other council members resign.
Leong insisted that the decision made by the council was collective, rational and for the long-term interest of the university.
He said he has been fair as chairman and doesn’t see the rationale behind asking him to step down.
Leong also said he didn’t believe there was any political intervention that affected the voting, as vice chancellor Peter Mathieson had implied.
HKU teachers and staff plan a silent demonstration in black attire Tuesday, the report said.
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