23 May 2019
Students at HKU hold a banner saying "to safeguard institutional autonomy". Photo: HKUSU/Facebook
Students at HKU hold a banner saying "to safeguard institutional autonomy". Photo: HKUSU/Facebook

HKU students could charge council meeting chaired by Arthur Li

Some University of Hong Kong students have suggested taking more aggressive action in their campaign for reform at HKU, such as charging or blocking the meeting venue when members of the university council meet Tuesday.

It will be the first meeting to be chaired by newly appointed council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung.

The HKU Students’ Strike Organizing Committee called on fellow students to meet outside the venue at 4 p.m., Apple Daily reported Tuesday.

On Wednesday last week, more than 300 HKU students showed up at a gathering on campus to kick off a week-long class boycott to press for changes to the governing council.

Student representative Wong Chun-kit said some students have expressed the view that the actions taken by the committee so far were too mild to make an impact.

These students suggested charging the council meeting if their demands are not met.

Wong said the actions to be taken will be decided by the students present outside the meeting venue today.

He called on students to show up, as he said there is no point discussing what to do if there are not enough attendees in the first place.

Wong said there will not be violent incidents, as students have restrained themselves since the incident in July last year when some stormed the council chamber during a meeting.

He said he hopes the council will do its best not to provoke the students.

Committee member Yvonne Leung Lai-kwok said it will decide on whether or not to extend the class boycott after the council meeting.

Leung said the class boycott is only the first step in the students’ campaign to have changes made to the governing council.

She said the committee will discuss further whether it will pursue a judicial review.

Leung is hoping that the students’ demands to amend the ordinances of all local universities to abolish the provision that Hong Kong’s chief executive is automatically their chancellor will become a citywide campaign.

On Monday, none of HKU’s 10 deans responded to the invitation of the strike organizing committee for a meeting on campus.

About 20 student representatives marched to the offices of the deans to hand in letters of protest.

Chris Webster, dean of the faculty of architecture, met with the student representatives in person for five minutes.

Meanwhile, HKU Academic Staff Association chairman William Cheung Sing-wai reportedly wrote Li a letter asking him to resign as council chairman.

Cheung said Li has not shown the necessary sincerity in his treatment of teachers and students and has not respected the autonomy of the university.

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