24 October 2016
Lingnan council members hold a dialogue with the students. Photo: RTHK
Lingnan council members hold a dialogue with the students. Photo: RTHK

Lingnan University students demand change to council rules

About 40 students of Lingnan University blocked the entrance of the building where the university council was scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday afternoon, forcing the meeting to be aborted, Ming Pao Daily reported on Tuesday.

The students demanded the council amend ordinances that allow Hong Kong’s chief executive to sit as chancellor of all public universities and appoint council members.

The protest was staged after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying appointed two pro-establishment figures to the governing council.

But council chairman Rex Auyeung Pak-kuen said the rules that the students want to be changed apply not only to Lingnan but to other government-funded universities as well.

Asked about his stance on academic freedom, Auyeung said he will not yield to pressure and will stay neutral on the issue.

He called out other council members to have a dialogue with the students on the staircase of the Wong Administration Building.

Four council members told the students they see the need the amend the ordinances in question, but Wong Kwan-yu, who represents the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, berated the students for treating council members as “puppets”.

On the students’ demand for the creation of a task force to look into proposed changes in the university charter, particularly those pertaining to academic freedom, Auyeung said it could be done if there is a related motion proposed in the next council meeting and more than half of the council members agree.

The university’s alumni association is set to hold a convention on Wednesday, and a group of alumni will push for the creation of a concern group to look into the issue.

Meanwhile, the students’ union at the Hong Kong Baptist University said the university council has agreed to name a new deputy vice chancellor to the management team to take care of strategic development and academic affairs, with details to be announced later.

It also said that students can become members of the search committee and interview panel for the position.

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