The University has recently issued a number of statements regarding the general polling initiated by the Union, regarding the suitability of Dr. Albert Chau, Dean of Student Affairs and Prof. Roland Chin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost in holding the office. The statements mentioned the general polling “as a product solely on the construction delay of Residential Colleges on Lung Wah Street”, without noticing the concept behind it.
In order to allow you, our dear Union Members, to have the full picture of the general polling before the voting period, we wish to further elaborate the rationale of initiating the general polling.
For years, from a food kiosk to a student hostel, we have tried our utmost in serving students and the University. Some of the Union Executives even have to suspend their studies as a full-time Union officer in serving you wholeheartedly. It is all about our love and care to our alma-mater – the University of Hong Kong. Thus, we do insist that the University must be governed by both the students and staff (teachers), in hopes of ensuring students’ voice to be heard and implemented in various University policies.
The Union has proposed to share the burden with the University on crisis management concerning the implementation of the new curriculum
This year is a very special year due to double cohort. Earlier in June, we have evaluated on various aspects of the University’s preparation on this matter. A number of difficulties were identified and solutions were offered. We believe that each stakeholders of the University, including students, should bear the responsibility in combating these challenges together. The views of students, who are directly affected, must not be neglected.
Thus, in early July, we proposed to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Prof. Roland Chin, who is responsible for leading the crisis management group regarding the new curriculum, students’ request to participate in the group in order to allow students to offer solutions to potential problems and share the burden together with the University. However, our enthusiasm and passion were rejected by Prof. Chin, who even refused to provide updated information (e.g. back-up plans) on this matter regularly to students.
Students were not informed until the last minute
With repeated delay, the 4 blocks of Residential Colleges on Lung Wah Street were originally to be completed in mid-July and mid-August respectively, providing 1,800 residential placements to students.
In late-August, we have received quite a lot of enquiries asking for assistance from non-local students who have already arrived in Hong Kong but were still unable to check into the Residential Colleges. Thus, we requested the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Albert Chau, to further disclose the relevant information to students without success. Prof. Chin and Dr. Chau did not brief students on the matter until repeated issuance of mass emails and press releases to students and the public by the Union. It was mentioned that students may move into Block A and B on 5 September. However, students were not notified about its further delay until the mid-night on 4 September.
Understandable to the construction delay – this is not the main reason of WHY A GENERAL POLLING!
Even though Dr. Albert Chau believes that the delay was “owing to factors beyond (the University’s) direct control”, we can certainly understand the difficult situation. However, the delay has clearly reflected that student voice, active participation and potential contribution in University affairs were completed ignored and rejected! We are doubtful on the following:
1) Why didn’t Prof. Roland Chin announce the “back-up plans” in advance? Why refuse to communicate with students regularly?;
2) Why did Dr. Albert Chau inform students at the last minute? Why didn’t he provide the relevant information to students regularly and actively?; and
3) To what extent do Prof. Chin and Dr. Chau have the sincerity and open-mindedness, with respect and response to students’ passion and enthusiasm?
As the most important stakeholders of the University, we cannot accept such an attitude of the University senior officers who are responsible for student affairs! We reiterate that both Dr. Chau and Prof. Chin must take the responsibility.
General Polling: no binding power
To urge the University to respect her students and defend “joint governance by both students and staff (teachers)”
We have tried different forms of actions repeatedly without success. Thus, we believe that a higher level of actions must be taken: the General Polling. The Union wishes that, through initiating the general polling, students are allowed to determine whether the two senior University staff, who are responsible for student affairs, are suitable to hold the office. Although the two motions do not have binding power on the University, we sincerely hope that the general polling would provide students an opportunity with the most democratic way to make the decision and to urge the University, in particular senior officer in the field of student affairs, to to respect her students and defend “joint governance by both students and staff (teachers)” with real actions.
The general polling will be held from 17 to 19 September (10:30am to 5:30pm). Students may exercise your right in various polling stations of the University. We sincerely encourage every one of you to vote in the general polling in order to express your opinion to the University administration. We will continue to strive for further participation of students in University affairs.