HKU student leaders who passed controversial resolution banned from campus

  • The motion ‘appreciating the sacrifice’ of the man who stabbed a police officer before taking his own life was withdrawn after public outcry
  • The matter is currently under police investigation as it may have broken the national security law

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Student leaders at the University of Hong Kong caused controversy when they passed a resolution honouring the man who attacked a police officer on July 1. Photo: SCMP/ Winson Wong

The University of Hong Kong’s governing council has said all student leaders who last month passed a controversial resolution mourning the death of a man who stabbed a police officer will be banned from entering the campus or using any of its facilities and services.

In a statement on Wednesday, the governing body said that as the resolution – passed on July 7 but quickly withdrawn after an outcry – was under police investigation and could have broken the law, allowing the relevant student union council members to move around freely on campus might put the university at legal risk.

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“The continued presence of the group of [students] concerned on campus would pose serious legal and reputational risks to the university and have a negative impact on its other members,” said the statement, issued after a special meeting. “In light of the gravity of the matter, immediate risk containment measures must be imposed.”

The governing council asked the university management to execute the ban, but did not specify how. The ban will remain in place until further notice, the council said.

It also asked the university management to “closely monitor the risk arising from the incident”, and report to it when the measure should be reviewed.

A view of HKU's Student Union building on its Pok Fu Lam campus. Photo: SCMP/ May Tse

Meanwhile, Undergrad, a news platform of the student union, said the university management had on Wednesday tried to contact the relevant leaders for a meeting over the saga. The students did not respond to the email, a source said.

Undergrad also reported that in a separate email, the university’s president Xiang Zhang invited student representatives – one from each residential hall – to “have a breakfast with him” next Friday so he could “listen and exchange views with students in a casual manner”.

There are 13 such representatives among the more than 40 members of the student union council.

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The email did not say what would be discussed. Both emails were said to be sent by the university’s registrar Jeannie Tsang.

Daniel Lei Tsz-shing, a former student representative on the governing council, said the ban was drastic and “unfair” to the student leaders, as it was unclear if they could still attend lessons next semester.

“This will severely affect their learning needs and planning,” he said, adding that the university should make clear how long the measures would last.

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He expected the student leaders involved to face further disciplinary action.

Another university source said the ban was expected to be an interim move, as the governing body did not say if it would expel or suspend the students.

“It mentioned that the measure is ‘subject to review’,” said the source. “The university will probably come up with something before the new academic year starts next month.”

The source said it would be difficult for the university to execute the ban as visitors were largely free to enter the campus.