HKU Council probes student union leader after resolution leaked

September 10, 2015 11:24
HKU Council chairman Edward Leong (center), with student leader Billy Fung (center, right), speaks to students after the Undergrad reported the council's  decision on its Facebook page. Photos: HKEJ, Facebook

The University of Hong Kong Council has asked Billy Fung Jing-en, chairman of HKU Students’ Union (HKUSU) and a council member, whether he had leaked the council's decision during a meeting in July, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday, citing a source familiar with the matter.

On July 28 the HKU Council voted 12-8 to delay the appointment of a pro vice chancellor until a new deputy vice chancellor has been appointed.

The Undergrad, a magazine published by HKUSU, learned about the decision and immediately reported it online, prompting students to storm the council meeting.

Marcus Lau, editor-in-chief of the Undergrad, said he could not confirm with Fung about the council decision because of the chaotic situation that day but someone told him it was Fung who revealed the decision.

Council chairman Edward Leong Che-hung said at a meeting on Aug. 25 that a council member accused Fung of leaking the council resolution to the Undergrad, according to the source.

The council then decided to demand a written response from Fung on whether he had breached confidentiality. No deadline was set for his response.

Leong said in a reply to Ming Pao’s queries about the issue that the council has revised its principles of confidentiality after leakages of documents had been found over the past few months.

He said the revised rules do not target any specific individual or incident.

He did not confirm whether Fung was accused of being the source of the leak. Fung also declined to comment.

Ming Pao found the principles of confidentiality have been tightened in a new version that the council passed last month.

The new rules state that only the council chairman is allowed to speak to outsiders about council decisions.

The rules also state that confidentiality of all meeting agendas, documents and minutes is “absolutely necessary”, compared with “normally necessary” in the 2004 version.

In drafting its principles of confidentiality, the HKU council is said to have heavily relied on directions published in 2001 by the governing bodies of two British universities.

However, the British version emphasizes that except for personal and commercially sensitive information, all meeting agendas, documents and minutes should be open to students and staff and subject to a minimum level of confidentiality.

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