Claims of plagiarism and sexual harassment against a professor at a Zhuhai-based college jointly run by Baptist University and Beijing Normal University have sparked an investigation by the college.
It was alleged in e-mails and chat room conversations among the college community that a professor at the Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College (BNU-HKBU UIC) had committed acts of plagiarism at the institution he worked for before joining the college.
It was also claimed that a former secretary in his department had resigned after the professor had harassed her.
A faculty member backed the plagiarism allegation, citing a newspaper report which said the professor had been asked by a national funding body to repay his research subvention upon discovery of his plagiarism.
In response to the claims, UIC set up an investigation panel to look into the matter. A spokesman for the college said it had no further comment to make at this stage. The four-member panel is expected to submit a report to the college president, Ng Ching-fai, in two months.
To ensure impartiality, the UIC faculty has written to HKBU president Albert Chan San-chi asking him to "impress on president Ng that this is a serious matter that cannot be 'whitewashed' or treated casually".
It went on: "It is obvious from the amount of online discussion that parents are concerned about their daughters interacting with a sexual predator. Students wonder why such a man is REWARDED with a 40,000+ RMB salary for improper behaviour.
"This not only reflects poorly on UIC, but also HKBU as well. We encourage you to designate one of your trusted lieutenants to actively oversee this sad saga."
A liberal arts college, UIC is the first joint venture between a Hong Kong university and a mainland institution. It was established in 2005 with expectations of it being a model of full-scale higher education collaboration between Hong Kong and the mainland. It has 4,440 students, of whom about 220 are from Hong Kong, and teaching staff from 20 countries and regions.