UNIVERSITY students angered by the Government's controversial tuition fee hike have threatened not to pay any fees at all in the new academic year. The Executive Council's decision to uphold the 1991 proposal to gradually increase tertiary tuition fees to cover 18 per cent of overall education costs has not only sparked a massive signature campaign at the seven universities but also a student sit-in, a petition and a possible refusal by students to pay tuition fees altogether. 'We are most disappointed over the Government's indifference to student opinion,' said Suen Chee-tak, a standing committee member of the Hong Kong Federation of Students. 'We are planning to stage a don't-pay-school-fees campaign in the coming school year. We have the whole summer to prepare for it, but we haven't yet reached a decision. Perhaps we will not pay the fees at all, or pay only the original rate, not the new one.' Eight representatives from the federation attempted to hand Governor Chris Patten a petition letter in front of the Government Central Office last Tuesday, but the Governor refused to take the letter personally. A government officer later accepted the letter on the Governor's behalf. Chee-tak said the Governor's apparent indifference was a further reflection of the Government's unwillingness to consider student opinion. Details of the campaign have still to be confirmed, but Chee-tak denied there would be any 'lecture-skipping', as such a move would not directly reflect objections to the fee hike. 'It looks as if there's nothing else we can do to change the Government's fundamental policies on this matter. Meanwhile, legislators like Cheung Man-kwong have offered to help the federation. We hope they'll be able to do more lobbying within the government.' Tuition fees for full-time degree courses will be increased from this year's $30,750 to $37,350, and sub-degree courses from $23,065 to $28,200, representing a 21.5 per cent increase. By the year 2000, first-year undergraduates will have to pay $51,650. Eight students from the City University of Hong Kong staged a nine-hour sit-in on Monday night. 'The Government's attitude is that if students have to borrow money, why can't they borrow from their parents,' said second-year social work major Siu-man. 'The Governor himself said two years ago at a public forum at City University that he thought it was only logical for students to work part-time, because he did so when he was a student. 'Unfortunately, Hong Kong's university students have always left it to the student unions to do all the talking whenever there was a problem, while the rest took a wait-and-see attitude. That's just not enough.' Siu-man emphasised that none of the students at the sit-in were from the City University student union, and that it was about time other students started speaking up about the fee hike. Students know they will feel the pinch, but do not know the reasons for the hike or whether the increase was justified, Siu-man said. The students will hand in the collected signatures to Government House tomorrow. Baptist University was to hold a general meeting with the Vice-Chancellor Tse Chi-wai yesterday.