Students consulted over appointment of Baptist University president

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 May, 2015, 12:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 May, 2015, 12:02am

I refer to the report ("Student protest delays appointment of Baptist University president", May 15).

The discourteous behaviour of some Baptist University students invading the stage as candidate for the university's presidency Professor Roland Chin Tai-hong was leaving, after a full day of consultations, was unsettling.

I am employed at the university, but am not involved in the appointment process for president and write in a personal capacity. But I understand the search process was thorough. Soon after the search committee, comprising elected members, was formed in August, a dedicated website was launched outlining the process, timeline and criteria. Comments, including those of students, raised during meetings I attended in September were duly noted and a revised set of criteria was published and sent through various channels.

The comment by the president of the student union, saying it is impossible for students to assess Professor Chin's suitability in a single meeting, would in fairness apply to all recruitment exercises. I am sure the interview panel, comprising committee members and representatives of the university's students' union and alumni association, has conducted the exercise fairly. It has evaluated candidates' abilities and experience against the agreed criteria in the best interests of the university community.

The plan to conduct the consultation followed by a recommendation of the candidate to the university's council is the usual practice. It is unfortunate some individuals overlooked this and mistakenly saw a devious plan to deprive them of the right to express their views.

With the impending retirement of the outgoing president and vice-chancellor, it should be seen as a happy development that a well-qualified candidate has been found as a successor and can pave the way for a smooth transition.

I hope students will now focus on the candidate's suitability as president and allow the appointment process to proceed.

Students should think independently and have the courage to challenge authority. However, they should always express their views in a peaceful and rational manner, respect other views and avoid imposing their will on people. Antagonistic practices are not the best way to get things done and I hope our younger generation can learn to resolve issues through dialogue and communication rather than shouting and forceful behaviour.

I do not believe the disorderly behaviour of a few students on May 14 represented the majority of the well-mannered and educated students of Baptist University.

Dr Alfred Tan, Kowloon Tong