Staff at Baptist University's School of Communication are upset over a new appraisal measure, which they claim will allow 'irrelevant outsiders' to rate their job performance upon renewal of contracts. They fear the move will be abused and become a tool for the school's dean to fire anyone he chooses. At the centre of the dispute is a new appraisal measure that applies to about 30 non-teaching staff members, mainly administrative staff and supporting technicians, at the school. On renewal of the contract of a non-teaching employee, the school's dean will invite lecturers, students and fellow non-teaching staff members to participate in an online poll to rate an employee's performance. The poll results will serve as reference when a review panel, appointed by the dean, determines whether to recommend that a worker's contract be renewed. Baptist University Faculty and Staff Union secretary Gloria Ng Chan Chung-hay said: 'Not all students know or have worked with, say, a technician, if they have not taken the relevant courses. So why should they be allowed to appraise the technician?' In a poll conducted by the staff union about two weeks ago, some 97 per cent of the 302 staff members at the university said the measure was 'unreasonable' or 'very unreasonable'. Almost 90 per cent of respondents said there should be a thorough consultation with staff, and if such a system were introduced it should be adopted by all departments, not only the School of Communication. Union chairman Mark Li Kin-yin said: 'We are not opposing the appraisal of staff members' work. But the appraisal should be fair and reasonable.' Legislator Cheung Man-kwong, who represents the education sector, supported the Baptist University staff, saying: 'It [would be comparable] to ask strangers who have nothing to do with me to say how I have been performing at work. That is absurd.' Mr Cheung said he would raise the issue at today's education panel meeting. A university spokesman said the move would enable assessment of staff from 'multi-perspectives' and was part of a 2006 reform to link pay with performance. 'While students are invited to do the online poll, we believe our students are responsible people and they will not take part in the poll if they do not know the employee being assessed.'