The new vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong is expected to face tough questions on the institute's future direction when he attends a forum hosted by the students' union on Monday. The event, to be held in English, will be Professor Tsui Lap-chee's first face-to-face dialogue with students since the renowned genetic scientist took the helm of the university last month. Professor Tsui, who succeeded Professor Ian Davies, has inherited several problems such as implementing staff pay cuts, reducing public subsidies and handling the effects of education reform. He will be closely watched on how he will protect academic freedom. One of his predecessors, Professor Cheng Yiu-chung, was forced to resign in 2000 after he allegedly interfered with university polls on the popularity of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. Winnie Cheung Lai-hing, the student union's university affairs secretary, said student representatives would focus on controversies such as use of resources, possible mergers with other universities and how to elevate the institute to the top league of international universities. She said: 'Both sides should have a better understanding in order to chart a better path for the university's future.'