To all students of the University of Hong Kong:
We indeed failed. We failed to turn the situation round. We failed to restore our university to its rightful place. The absurd pretext of deferring the appointment ‘until the post of provost is filled’ remains. Violence in the structure stays on our campus. Not only are we frustrated with the current situation, we are also in heartfelt grief and distress.
In face of this Council which has incessantly neglected our demands, students having participated in the siege could do nothing but charge into the Senate room and demanded a direct exchange. Some conceited Council members under the lead of Arthur Li yet refused to converse with students’ view and explain the incident, while Leong Che-hung, the Chairman of the Council, rested all problems to the collective decision made by the Council and sadly made no promise. Our concern to the composition of the Council and the intervention from the regime were further shunned. It shall be the duty of the Council members to be accountable to HKU staff and students. Such system surely turns to be unjust when it is lobbied as a reason in shunning the general public.
Such incident concerning the Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor has been ridiculously prolonged. Not only did we launch petition and a sit-in protest, we also issued a joint declaration with three other university organisations, demanding the immediate appointment and a revision to the composition of the Council. The Council yet has never responded to our demands.
Doors of the Senate room are in total resemblance to barriers to our opinions. Pro-establishment members even abused pretexts of ‘the code of confidentiality’ and ‘collective decision’ in defence, disabling us from making them accountable to the issue. When one questioned the validity of delaying the appointment ‘until the post of provost is filled’, Leong even claimed that the Council decision is final regardless of its validity in our eyes. We can never stand such ill-founded conclusion and a council neglecting the validity of its decision is a clear and undoubted tyranny of the majority.
Representatives of students and academic staff in the Council are the mere minority. They, sadly, are unable to influence any decision in face of the overwhelming majority of pro-establishment members. As the highest decision-making body, the Council should serve the benefits of the university. We are truly aware of the cost of charging the Council while what happened was surely nothing we had hoped for. Peaceful means were under trial and were proved to be impotent. They left us no choice but to charge in hope of restoring order in this Council.
Our fellow students, we once took pride in our university, we are yet now ashamed. The violence in the system and the malfunction of the council surely put us in heartfelt grief. But what is the most shocking is how the university again forfeited its autonomy to the police force and connived its enforcement on campus. On 18 August 2011, to save the reputation of the regime, the university allowed the police force to take control of the university security and exploited students freedom on campus. Such lesson must be born in mind. The connivance of the university to the police force enforcement on campus shall only make us hard not to believe in ingratiating herself to the regime.
We dare not claim our actions to be successful hitherto and we must take responsibility for the inadequacies. It yet never means that our struggle has come to an end. Our goal has never been only the appointment of the Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor. We demand a reform of the Council and further protection of our institutional autonomy from the University Ordinance.
Actions may not always be effective in face of such aloof authority. But instead of waiting for our own demise, we are determined to rise above such adversity. Only in unity shall we safeguard our own dignity. We hereby humbly call on all students to struggle with us and restore our University of Hong Kong to its rightful place.
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
29 July 2015