Chinese University's staff union and an alumni association have hit out at the senior management's handling of the controversy surrounding sex columns printed in the student newspaper. They claim the university failed to protect its students' right to freedom of expression and was 'oversensitive' in its response to the furore. Chinese University of Hong Kong Employees' General Union and CUHK Alumni Concern Group are both calling on the university to publicly apologise to the students involved and erase any records of warning letters sent to them in light of their victory over the obscenities watchdog in a judicial review this week. The Court of First Instance ruled on Tuesday that the Obscene Articles Tribunal had been wrong in its decision to rule indecent a series of sex articles that appeared in Chinese University's CU Student Press early last year. The articles included questionnaires on various sex topics, including taboo subjects such as bestiality and incest. The university issued warning letters to students on the editorial board of the paper in May last year, threatening disciplinary action. However, due to a change in the editorial board those students had not been responsible for the content which had caused the controversy. This May, CUHK cleared that editorial board, but deemed the previous editor had a case to answer. However, it did not take action against him as he had already left the university. The two organisations said yesterday the outcome of the judicial review demonstrated the university had been wrong and it should retract the warning letters. 'The letters clearly stated that they were warning letters,' said Emily Ng Hiu-chun, president of the staff union. 'If they remain on the record, they could potentially affect these students' future academic or professional careers.' The university last night said the letters were not a warning, but a reminder that the publication's content should be acceptable to the broader society. 'Related correspondence certainly was not entered into students' personal files,' the university said. Ms Ng said the organisation's members had sent a 'clear message' of support for the students. 'The majority of the teaching staff side with the students,' she said. 'Their methods were rather crude, but it is reasonable to have that discussion. We believe CUHK should be a place for open and free discussion. If we cannot talk about this subject then there are many classes which could not be taught.' The alumni group called on CUHK to 'retract the warning letters, publicly apologise and guarantee that no related records will remain in any of the students' files'. Mau Chi-wang, head of the group, said the university's actions had left his members 'most disappointed' and it raised deeper questions about the 'culture and attitude' of the university's leadership.