Leong denies soliciting votes to delay key HKU appointment

July 27, 2015 12:44
Leong Che-hung (left) reportedly told Peter Mathieson (right) about the plan to delay the appointment of a pro vice chancellor after he secured enough votes from the council. Photo: HKEJ

Leong Che-hung, chairman of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) council, is denying he lobbied other members to delay the appointment of a pro vice chancellor.

Leong hit back after being called out in an op-ed article by former Ming Pao Daily editor and HKU alumnus Kevin Lau who accused him of soliciting council members during a private breakfast.

Hours later, the council voted 12-6 not to fill the newly created position of a fifth pro vice chancellor until a replacement for deputy vice chancellor Ronald Chin has been named.

Chin resigned in November and is due to leave this month.

Johannes Chan, former HKU law dean, has been widely tipped for the fifth pro vice chancellor slot after he was recommended by the search committee in November.

Leong said he and other council members commonly exchange views but added he did not solicit their votes.

Lau said several council members who are either pro-establishment legislators or members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, attended the meeting.

Leong told vice chancellor Peter Mathieson about the plan to delay the appointment of a pro vice chancellor after making sure he got enough votes. Lau said.

Meanwhile, Chan said his case is no longer the issue but HKU's values being compromised.

He said the council should apologize to the HKU alumni and the public.

The decision is reasonable but has been misunderstood, an unnamed source familiar with council's naming process told Sing Tao Daily.

A pro vice chancellor reports to the deputy vice chancellor, so the former's appointment takes precedence, the source said.

However, Ip Kin-yuen, an education lawmaker and convenor of an alumni concern group, said the two appointments are unrelated because the pro vice chancellor works independently from the deputy vice chancellor.

Last week, Mathieson said he wanted no more delays as he needed a complete team in the administration.

Students are calling for a rally on Tuesday, when the council meets again, to press for a quick resolution.

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