City University students who met the institute's leaders yesterday to discuss the potential sale of its community college say they emerged none the wiser about the college's fate.
The 11/2-hour meeting left the three student representatives sceptical about the fate of the college as the university's council chairman Herman Hu Shao-ming and deputy chairman Vincent Chow Wing-shing delivered a series of non-committal platitudes, the students said.
"Before, we were extremely shocked [at the news of the potential sale]. Now, we are extremely confused," said former student union president Timothy Lee Ho-yin, one of the three who attended the meeting.
Lee said Hu promised that "after a decision has been made, students and teachers will be consulted".
CityU has neither dispelled the rumours that surfaced last month, nor divulged details about its plan to sell the college, which could affect as many as 7,000 students and 200 staff members.
It has offered only verbal promises that any changes would not affect current students, the curriculum and the degrees offered in the college.
"We remain worried," said Tam Lok-kei, spokesman of the Alliance in Concern of Sub-degree Education and a student at the college. "Consulting us only when a decision is made means we have no say on the outcome."
The student representatives said the meeting with Hu and Chow failed to throw light on whether the college would indeed be sold.
Although the university had told students it was simply "looking for a partner to improve the education provided and not looking to sell the school", a written reply from the university to lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said it was looking for a partnership "with the ultimate goal of transferring the college to them".
A CityU spokeswoman said a suitable partner would "provide an excellent opportunity to further develop the college and would be beneficial to both students and staff". She added that students' concerns were noted.
Chan said CityU's action was unacceptable. "The assurances given to students are at odds with the letter I received on July 2. This is - at its root - a business decision … Education should not be commercialised."