Chinese University has agreed on guidelines for setting up new colleges to house 3,000 extra students under the switch to four-year degrees.
Its ruling council yesterday approved a plan to set up either one or two small, fully residential colleges for 300 to 600 students, and one or two partially residential colleges, each for 1,200 students.
The move came hours after 40 alumni placed a quarter-page advert in a Chinese-language newspaper criticising proposals by a university taskforce for small colleges of 300 to 600 students to be the model for campus expansion.
The advert said the taskforce lacked vision and the small-colleges plan was commercially driven and incompatible with the institution's collegiate system. It also said consultation on the plans had been hasty and unrepresentative.
Two months ago, the university unveiled a $10 billion, 10-year plan for extending the collegiate system. The government does not fund colleges and Chinese University aims to meet the cost through private donations.
Wong Yiu-chung, assistant professor in Lingnan University's department of politics and sociology and one of the advert's signatories, said: 'We are asking the university to reopen the consultation process and to think more deeply about building these new colleges.
'We suspect these new colleges will not have any spirit. I am not opposed to naming a dormitory after a donor but I am opposed to naming a college after a donor.'
A Chinese University spokeswoman said: 'We treasure our college system.'
Li Kai-ming, director of the university alumni office, said it had sent out information about the expansion plan and a report on the new colleges to all the 80-plus alumni groups.