Academy apologises over process for selecting drama dean

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 May, 2009, 12:00am

The Academy for Performing Arts apologised yesterday over its much-criticised process to select a new head for its drama school, but said it had believed it was possible to leave the faculty and students out of the arrangements as they already knew the two candidates.

The school was responding to complaints from students and alumni - including leading stage and screen figures - who accused it of rushing into the choice without proper consultation. Despite the apology the students' association said it was considering further action.

Students were angry that the academy did not arrange for them and staff to meet the two candidates until it received a petition calling for a meeting, and that it announced the choice, Tang Shu-wing, just six hours after the meeting.

The academy said yesterday that, in general, the selection of a dean would include presentations by candidates who would then answer questions. Feedback from students and the faculty would then be considered. But on this occasion it had initially decided that the participation of students and staff was not needed as the two candidates - Mr Tang and head of acting Peter Jordan - were current staff. The academy had felt that 'faculty and students would have considerable prior knowledge about the two candidates', so 'the Q&A session would therefore not be needed'.

On Tuesday, a joint petition signed by more than 100 student representatives and alumni accused the academy of improper practice.

A global search was held at the end of March to find the replacement for current drama dean David Jiang, who will retire next month.

Fong Chun-kit, president of the students' association, was disappointed by the response. 'The academy still did not explain what the criteria were,' he said.