Students at Chinese University –and at least one lawmaker – don’t want the chief executive to automatically be the chancellor of local universities. Speaking to Young Post yesterday, education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said academic freedom is under threat if the city’s leader continued to be given this role.
“The government should keep a distance from universities,” Ip said. “I fear Leung Chun-ying, as the chief executive-cum-chancellor, will exert his power by nominating a large number of allies to the universities’ councils, and such powerful decision-making bodies will pose a grave threat to academic freedom and institutional autonomy.”
CUHK student Lau Sam-yee, 19, told Young Post that the universities’ councils only existed in name, and the real power came from the government because the chief executive was still the chancellor of universities.
“If Leung stays in his position as chancellor, it’s like the university is serving the government rather than its students,” said Lau.
At a CUHK council meeting on Monday, violence broke out when angry student activists tried to get into the room. About 50 students and protesters from outside the university – some wearing black masks – clashed with security guards at the venue at Bank of America Tower in Admiralty, before the meeting started.