Lingnan University president Chan Yuk-shee resigns

Lingnan chief Chan Yuk-shee says he is leaving for health reasons and denies decision is linked to row over 'excessive' enrolment numbers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 3:52am

The head of the city's liberal arts college, Lingnan University president Chan Yuk-shee, has resigned for what he says are health reasons.

His announcement comes amid controversy over two of the university's branches, which have been accused of enrolling an excessive number of students. But both Chan Yuk-shee and university council chairman Bernard Chan insisted there was no connection.

Chan Yuk-shee said: "I have been involved in university administration for more than 20 years and I'm turning 60 next year. I've been thinking it's time to adjust my life and work plans."

The student union plans to file a complaint to the Legislative Council today about admissions to the Community College at Lingnan University (CCLU) and Lingnan Institute of Further Education (LIFE) which they say have jeopardised teaching.

Student leader Chan Shu-fai said the two colleges, which provide non-degree courses, enrolled 5,300 associate degree students for the academic year that started last month - double the number projected before the summer.

Bernard Chan said yesterday the university would set up a five-member committee to look into the enrolments.

"The two events are not related," the executive councillor said of the controversy and the president's resignation. "It's just that the timing matched."

He said the resignation "didn't happen just now".

"It's been discussed for some time. We feel upset about president Chan's departure."

He said the president first asked if he could resign for health reasons "a few months ago".

Bernard Chan said the university hoped to complete a global hunt for a replacement before the start of the next academic year.

If not, the departing chief would stay on until a replacement is found.

He added that he hoped the successor would have a passion for liberal arts education.

The university, whose campus is in Tuen Mun, is one of Hong Kong's eight government-funded tertiary institutions. Chan Shu-fai, head of the student union, said he was also upset Chan is leaving.

"We believe health was a reason," he said.

"However, it is also true that he may be facing a lot of pressure [from the controversy]."

He hoped the university president's departure would not stop the investigation into the recent allegations.

The admission of an excessive number of students by CCLU and LIFE meant that in some cases, there were not enough chairs for students, reports have said.