科大人籲科大校管恪守教育原則善待學子 The HKUST Community Urges for Adherence to Education Professionalism
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This letter is addressed to:
The HKUST Council Chairman Mr Andrew LIAO Cheung-Sing
The HKUST President Professor Wei SHYY
The HKUST Academic Registrar Mr James Prince
We are members of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) community, namely former graduates, former faculty and admin staff. We are aware that some HKUST Students’ Union members and leaders have lately encountered heavy penalty from the HKUST management, including suspension of the students’ rights to use campus facilities for half a year, compulsory campus service order, penalty records and even suspension from classes for a semester. The offenses are merely holding a memorial event on campus for their deceased schoolmate Chow Tsz-lok, repainting slogans on a campus path and posting on the Students’ Union noticeboard expressing students’ concerns for Hong Kong’s public affairs. We all regard these actions as entirely out of the students’ care for Hong Kong and social justice. But their good will has only brought them severe punishments, which is shocking and deeply saddening us.
The HKUST, which places a premium on teaching and research of science and technology, is committed to the vision of “We provide a breeding ground for innovative global leaders of tomorrow”. It follows that the kind of scientists and technologists the HKUST would like to cultivate should not be solely concerned benefiting themselves and serving business tycoons by means of science and technology, while ignoring public affairs and social justice. This otherwise kind of so-called experts must be short-sighted and in lack of creativity, and therefore unable to become real leaders. On the other hand, the students now penalised have shown concern for our society and the proactive spirit of responding in action, which is exactly the prerequisite of competent leaders. The students have done correct things, only to be returned with woes. This indicates only one thing: as an internationally renowned tertiary education institute, the HKUST does not allow students for civic participation, nor expression of their good will. Is this in line with education professionalism?
University is a sacred temple where knowledge is pursued, truth explored and civilisation advanced. It must therefore embrace openness, diversification and freedom of thoughts, and provides ample opportunities for students to reflect, act and explore. Even if students make mistakes during the process, they will be highly tolerated, which has exactly been the tradition of Hong Kong’s university culture for the last one hundred years. However the case in question this time has sent an extremely bad message to the international community that the HKUST as an internationally acclaimed and quality higher education institute suppresses freedom and diversification on the campus and lacks tolerance for its students. This is going against the global status the HKUST has enjoyed.
As part of the HKUST community, we feel deeply distressed about the case and we even begin to doubt if we should continue to support our alma mater, whether in terms of finance or intangible assistance, because the University is now seen to have deviated from education professionalism, treating students indecently and neglecting their well-being.
Therefore we earnestly request the HKUST management to revoke the penalties for the students concerned, review the case together with the Students’ Union and study how to tolerate students’ sundry activities while maintaining the basic regulations of the campus, and in accordance with the principle of supporting students’ freedom of learning and exploration.
Initiator and Cosigner:
May Tam (2006 alumnus, Humanities Division, HKUST)
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