Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The farcical HKU council

The University of Hong Kong has been looking for a pro vice chancellor responsible for academic staffing and resources.  The search committee has already recommended a person, professor C, months ago.   Normally the council simply endorses the search committee’s recommendation.  For some reason, perhaps to “punish” HKU because some of its students and staff were so active in the recent “Occupy” movement, some in the pro-establishment camp started to campaign against professor C in the newspapers.  

Professor C himself does not seem to be in the active pan-democratic camp  He is simply independent-minded, which is what you would respect in an academic.  But apparently it is not something that the pro-establishment camp appreciates. In any case, the Chief Executive appointed new members to the HKU council.  The council subsequently decided to delay the appointment of the pro vice chancellor.  The excuse given is so lame that it is laughable - that they want to wait until the provost (superior to the pro vice chancellor) is appointed.  Many people, including staff, students and alumni, see this as an obvious attempt to subvert independent academic integrity. 

It is logical that the pro-establishment camp is unhappy with some of the staff and students at HKU.  But the heavy handed manipulation of the council and the inane excuse used to block Professor C’s appointment is not worthy of civic society, let alone higher education where independent thinking and integrity is supposed to be sacrosanct.

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