Occupy Central

PolyU won't punish those who cut classes to join Occupy Central

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 5:56am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2014, 6:18am

Students and staff of the Polytechnic University will not be penalised if they join Occupy Central or an expected boycott of classes next month, the university president says.

"Even now, not all students attend their classes," Timothy Tong Wai-cheung said. "What difference will the boycott make?"

Tong was commenting on the possibility that staff or students might absent themselves to join the planned sit-in in Central if Beijing denies Hong Kong genuine universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election or join a class boycott for the same reason.

He told a media gathering yesterday that if students missed classes for the boycott, they would be encouraged to get teaching materials from their classmates and catch up with their studies. Teachers should communicate with their directors beforehand so other staff members could be arranged to take over their classes.

"The most important thing is that those who want to have classes cannot be rendered unable to," he said.

The university has also formed a special team to help students arrested during the civil disobedience movement.

The team, headed by the dean of students, would provide those arrested with what they needed, Tong said.

The issue was also likely to be discussed during a meeting between the university and students this week.

Other universities have given their stances on the boycott, organised by the Federation of Students and expected to start in mid or late September.

A spokeswoman for the Chinese University said it would respect the freedom of speech of students and teachers and their right to express their views.

She said if there was a boycott, the university would continue to operate as usual.

A spokesman for the Baptist University also said the university would operate normally.

But he added that if students missed more than 15 per cent of their classes in any subject, they would not be able to sit the examination. Teachers should get their directors' approval and arrange make-up classes before they joined the boycott, he said.

"We hope students consider other ways of expressing their demand that will not affect their studies, but we will respect their personal decisions," he said.

University of Hong Kong, City University, University of Science and Technology, Lingnan University and the Institute of Education expressed similar views.