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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

A Petition to Urge HKUST to Revoke Penalties for Students Mourning a Schoolmate 聯署要求科大放過悼念周梓樂的學生

Six members of the student union of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, who organized protest-related activities last year, including a memorial for a student who mysteriously fell to his death near a demonstration site, were issued community service orders and school suspensions on January 24 this year. According to the school’s email to the union, the “misconduct” included the holding of a six-month memorial marking the death of student Alex Chow, who mysteriously fell to his death from a Tseung Kwan O carpark during a police operation, and a slogan-writing activisty last June during which union members painted the phrase “Hope lies in the people; change starts with resistance” on a university street. Miss May Tam, a graduate of the college, has launched a petition as follows, in the name of free speech, urging the University to revoke the penalties for the students affected (reported by Chapman Chen, HKBNews).

科大人籲科大校管恪守教育原則善待學子 The HKUST Community Urges for Adherence to Education Professionalism (For English, Please scroll downward) 此函奉達: 香港科技大學校董會主席廖長城先生 香港科技大學校長史維教授 香港科技大學教務處主任James Prince先生


以教研科技為重點的科大,教育願景乃「孕育敢於創新、積極有為的全球領袖」。這意味著,科大理應不會希望培養出來的科技專才,是單以科技圖利,卻對社會漠不關心,對公眾事務的是非對錯不聞不問,只以學識自肥和為商人服務。這樣的人不會積極,亦必眼界短淺,定無創意,不能成為領袖。可惜的是,今天受罰的學生,展現出關懷社會和以行動作回應的積極精神,擁有領袖的基本素質,他們做著正確的事,卻換來校方嚴懲。這表明,科大作為高級學府,不容學生關心社會,不容他們表達善良意願,這是否符合教育專業原則? 大學乃追求知識,探索真理,推動世界文明進步的殿堂,必重多元開放,思想自由,給予學生廣闊的空間思考、活動、探究,學生若有偏差錯誤也會高度包容,這亦是香港過去百年來的大學校園傳統。然而今次事件中,同學因舉辦合理無害的活動而受罰,實向國際社會傳達極壞訊息——科大作為教育殿堂的自由多元精神已褪色,對學生缺乏包容,難以與國際高級學府的地位匹配。

作為科大人,我們深感傷痛,更令我們猶疑還應否支持母校(包括財資與非財資的支持),因為其教育原則和精神似已改變,惡待學子,不再單純忠於學生福祉。 因此,吾等懇切要求,校方撤銷今次對學生的刑罰,並與學生會一起檢討事件,探討日後如何在支持學生自由學習和探索的原則下,包容各類學生活動,同時符合校園的基本規則。 發起人及聯署人 譚秀貞(2006年畢業生,人文學部,香港科技大學)

Pic credit: Now TV

聯署連結 Petition LInk:

We are members of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) community, namely former graduates, former faculty and admin staff. We are aware that some HKUST Students’ Union members and leaders have lately encountered heavy penalty from the HKUST management, including suspension of the students’ rights to use campus facilities for half a year, compulsory campus service order, penalty records and even suspension from classes for a semester. The offenses are merely holding a memorial event on campus for their deceased schoolmate Chow Tsz-lok, repainting slogans on a campus path and posting on the Students’ Union noticeboard expressing students’ concerns for Hong Kong’s public affairs. We all regard these actions as entirely out of the students’ care for Hong Kong and social justice. But their good will has only brought them severe punishments, which is shocking and deeply saddening us.

The HKUST, which places a premium on teaching and research of science and technology, is committed to the vision of “We provide a breeding ground for innovative global leaders of tomorrow”. It follows that the kind of scientists and technologists the HKUST would like to cultivate should not be solely concerned benefiting themselves and serving business tycoons by means of science and technology, while ignoring public affairs and social justice. This otherwise kind of so-called experts must be short-sighted and in lack of creativity, and therefore unable to become real leaders. On the other hand, the students now penalised have shown concern for our society and the proactive spirit of responding in action, which is exactly the prerequisite of competent leaders. The students have done correct things, only to be returned with woes. This indicates only one thing: as an internationally renowned tertiary education institute, the HKUST does not allow students for civic participation, nor expression of their good will. Is this in line with education professionalism?

University is a sacred temple where knowledge is pursued, truth explored and civilisation advanced. It must therefore embrace openness, diversification and freedom of thoughts, and provides ample opportunities for students to reflect, act and explore. Even if students make mistakes during the process, they will be highly tolerated, which has exactly been the tradition of Hong Kong’s university culture for the last one hundred years. However the case in question this time has sent an extremely bad message to the international community that the HKUST as an internationally acclaimed and quality higher education institute suppresses freedom and diversification on the campus and lacks tolerance for its students. This is going against the global status the HKUST has enjoyed.

As part of the HKUST community, we feel deeply distressed about the case and we even begin to doubt if we should continue to support our alma mater, whether in terms of finance or intangible assistance, because the University is now seen to have deviated from education professionalism, treating students indecently and neglecting their well-being. Therefore we earnestly request the HKUST management to revoke the penalties for the students concerned, review the case together with the Students’ Union and study how to tolerate students’ sundry activities while maintaining the basic regulations of the campus, and in accordance with the principle of supporting students’ freedom of learning and exploration.

Initiator and Cosigner: May Tam (2006 alumnus, Humanities Division, HKUST)

Petition link:

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