SCMP Thursday, September 7, 2000


Staff and students divided on outcome


University staff and the students' union were yesterday divided on the council's handling of the inquiry panel's report on the polling controversy.
Chan Che-wai, Hong Kong University Staff Association chairman, said members respected and supported the resignations of Professors Cheng and Wong.
"It proves the university's interest has come first for both of them compared with their personal interest," he said.
Mr Chan said the association also accepted the council's decision not to vote on the panel's report.
"The university has gone through a very difficult time in the past few weeks. What we need to do now is to deal with the questions left behind. Among others, the most important one is how to ensure the selection of the new vice-chancellor is fair and open so as to rebuild public confidence in the university," he said.
Mr Chan said the association would write to university council chairman Yang Ti Liang and the council suggesting at least one representative from the university staff should sit on the selection committee given the task of appointing the new vice-chancellor.
Gloria Chang Wan-ki, president of the university's student union, and one of the four student representatives on the council, said she was "completely disappointed" that no decision was taken on the panel report.
She accused Mr Yang of rushing through the four motions by voice votes in the first 10 minutes of yesterday's special council meeting while she and other student representatives had yet to get hold of all documents.
She said some non-university members sitting on the council had argued that it was unnecessary to have such a vote as both Professor Cheng and Professor Wong had already resigned.
Eric Cheung Tat-ming, an assistant law professor at the university and one of the organisers of a signature campaign calling for the adoption of the report, said he was not totally satisfied with the council's decision against voting on accepting or rejecting it.
But he said: "In terms of the damage to the university, it's not the worst scenario because the report still stands. It's the lesser of the two evils."
He said what he and his colleagues feared most was that the report would be rejected by the council.
Before the meeting, angry students said they would protest or boycott classes if Professor Cheng were allowed to stay.