Polytechnic should have public inquiry

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 June, 1994, 12:00am

IN your front page article, ''Lecturers call for Poon to go'' (South China Morning Post, June 1), you quote the polytechnic associate director as saying: ''The polytechnic never did, and never will terminate a staff member's contract, merely because he or she made a complaint about the management.'' This remark looks as though it is designed to cast a slur on Mr Sofield, by insinuating that the polytechnic oligarchy has secret reasons to get rid of him, other than for his act of whistle blowing.

If the directorate does have a secret reason, why does it not declare it and state its evidence.

Now the directorate is under the censure of the public for sacking a whistle-blower for reporting irregularities in his department. Furthermore it has made the dismissal by invoking a contractual clause that relieves the directorate of any obligation to give a reason for its action, and denies the sacked man any right to defend himself.

If the directorate gives no valid reason because it has none, let the associate director explain how he would defend his remark.

We have an institution where the oligarchy can sack staff without an official reason, and without the staff having a right to defend themselves, and where internal inquiries are held by investigators who are hand-picked by the oligarchy.

How then will the public be reassured that the new university will be dedicated to the achievement of academic excellence? Clearly there is a great deal of unrest and disaffection amongst the present staff, many of whom will not be retained.

Will it be that the staff who dare to speak out will go, while those who are willing to keep quiet for the sake of their jobs or promotion will stay? I believe that the public can only again have full confidence in this institution if it submits to a public external inquiry.

If Dr Poon is confident that his resignation would be a disservice to the people of Hong Kong, let investigators say so, who are not beholden to him for their jobs.