LEADING academic Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek faces formal investigation by the City University which yesterday said there was a prima facie case concerning his academic integrity. The university will also determine whether Professor Cheng, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, should be suspended during the inquiry prompted by the initial findings on his academic conduct released yesterday. Professor Cheng, who is on leave, may lose his position as dean when he returns to work on May 1, when existing senior staff appointments end. The university is proposing a new and more democratic senior staff appointment system in May. If the senate endorses the proposal next week, junior staff will be asked to nominate candidates as deans and a management selection committee will make the final decision. Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheng Yiu-chung said staff might not nominate Professor Cheng if investigations had not finished. The university's staff association said although Professor Cheng was now on leave, he should be formally suspended from management duties. Professor Joseph Cheng yesterday declined to comment on the preliminary findings but said his future would be decided by the university. The findings were made by an ad hoc group set up after a report in the South China Morning Post last month revealed Professor Cheng had copied from a book by his former teacher, Dr Norman Miners of the Hong Kong University, in one of his textbooks published in 1987. The group, set up to establish 'whether there is a prima facie case involving academic integrity which warrants further investigation', has also considered two other matters. The university yesterday said: 'After considerable consultation with experts and peer groups in the relevant fields, the group is of the view that there is a prima facie case.' Group convenor Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Kam Wai-kee said: 'We have found prima facie evidence in the three cases. 'But there is a difference in the level of seriousness.' The university is expected to form a committee of inquiry this week. It will consist of three members who are external academics or independent council members and the other three will be drawn from internal staff. While the university said the committee membership would not be disclosed to allow maximum effectiveness, it will make public the results. Dr Kam said if Professor Cheng was found guilty of misconduct, he could face dismissal.