My Take

Pot calling the kettle black: Row at HKU would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic

Latest conflict over ‘waste of resources’ in moving council meeting shows that some staff and students at city’s most prestigious university have lost the plot

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 February, 2016, 12:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 March, 2016, 2:59pm

You don’t have to be a fan of Arthur Li Kwok-cheung to find the latest criticism against him farcical.

Student leaders behind the boycott of classes at the University of Hong Kong have accused the school’s governing council and Li, its new chairman, of “misappropriating” funds to change the location of a council meeting to Wan Chai’s Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday.

They were joined by the Academic Staff Association, which has sent a complaint letter to Li.

READ MORE: University of Hong Kong class boycott committee slams council for ‘misappropriating’ funds to move meeting off campus

“This extravagant way of running council meeting cannot continue, as scarce university resources are being diverted from teaching and research,” association chairman William Cheung Sing-wai wrote.

“It not only will affect the performance of the university, but also is contrary to what you have said that the university should concentrate our resources only in teaching and research.

“If you, as council chairman, feel unable to do so as your predecessors have done, it is perhaps time now for someone who can to take over the job.”

Are these the same groups that have been storming council meetings, detaining and injuring its members and generally making it impossible to hold a normal meeting without members risking life and limb or at least many hours of their lives after midnight?

The criminal is now accusing the victim of avoiding the scene of the crime. What the students and some junior academics are really objecting to is that the convention centre has tough and well-trained security staff who are entirely up to their task, unlike their mellow HKU counterparts who mollycoddle student protesters.

READ MORE: HKU council member accused of placing recording device inside his thermos

Speaking of wasting scarce resources, do class boycotts and constant protests distract students and academics like Cheung from “teaching and research”?

Some students reportedly have to repeat courses because they spend more time protesting than studying. But they are skiving for a noble cause. What about the academics? Don’t even ask, or you are interfering with academic freedom. Here’s my suggestion for Professor Li: as scion of the legendary Li family, I am sure there is a family property suitable for holding a council meeting. That way, perhaps we have to praise Li for helping to save the university money while guaranteeing the safety of council members.