Chinese University plans two new colleges on campus A student union has threatened to stage a sit-in and signature campaign against Chinese University's plan to cut down more than 100 trees to build two new elite colleges. Chinese University's student union will meet next month to discuss actions to be taken to protect the trees. Union president Napoleon Wong Weng-chi said they would gather support from alumni, staff and teachers and said the action could be launched by the end of next month. 'We are all angry that they would cut down so many trees just to build colleges, which students believe are not needed,' Mr Wong said. The idea of building new colleges was announced in October 2005 by vice-chancellor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee and approved by the school board in April last year. The new colleges - Morningside College and S.H. Ho College - will be built on the slope and will include dormitories and dining halls. The university would not specify how many trees would be felled but a spokeswoman said: 'Tree preservation is a key factor that the architects have considered in the design of the two new colleges. 'The university is committed to minimising the effect on trees and ensuring that the campus is green and flourishing with vegetation.' Professor Lau wrote on the university's website that there was a 'pressing need' to establish new colleges to accommodate an extra 3,000 students when the curriculum reverted to four years in 2012. The university said that without new colleges enrolment at the four existing colleges would rise from 2,500 to 3,200, making it 'difficult to maintain a congenial learning environment'. The number of trees felled is believed to be on the largest scale since the 1980s. Last year, the university halted plans to cut down 35 trees - some 50 years old - for a road-widening project after protests. The new plan involves flattening a 13,000 square metre slope a 10-minute walk from University KCR station and where students said the university had earlier told them more than 100 trees would be felled. Li Yiu-kee, a former student union leader, said it was just the start as the management had told the union in an informal meeting of plans to build eight new colleges. The school is already working on another project to build a third new college on another slope and more trees would be cut down, Mr Li said. Jean Hung King-ming, co-founder of the Association of Campus Development Monitor, set up last year to monitor the university's tree programme, said her association would join the students' actions. Ms Hung said some of the trees were as high as a three-storey building. She said the trees had been there since the 1960s when the university was built in a rural area. The trees, including banyans and pines, teem with birds, insects and butterflies. 'As an educational institution, the university could be setting a bad example to Hong Kong society [by showing that] trees can be chopped and sacrificed for development,' said Ms Hung, who is assistant director of the Universities Service Centre for China Studies. The university says it will plant more trees than the number removed but Ms Hung says saplings can not replace mature trees. Students and teachers have accused the university of destroying the very environment that attracted them in the first place. 'I chose this school partly for the natural environment,' said first-year student Karen Ngan Ching-hei. 'I feel so sorry that to build the new colleges, they have to sacrifice the natural environment.'