Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen has announced he will run for an alumni seat on the selection committee for the head of the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
The pro-democracy lawmaker graduated from the university in 1984 and is now the convener of the HKU Alumni Concern Group. He said his run was intended to ensure the procedural justice of the selection process.
Ip highlighted an incident in 2015 when the appointment of renowned law scholar Johannes Chan was delayed and ultimately rejected. The move sparked controversy and accusations of political intervention at the university.
During the incident, HKU’s governing Council claimed Chan’s appointment would have to wait for the arrival of the deputy vice-chancellor – an unrelated position which was also vacant at the time. But Ip criticised the debacle as a “violation of established procedures and practices.”
“A series of incidents like these make many alumni and me clearly feel that political interventions from outside the University have been causing damage to our procedural justice and pounding against the century-old foundation of our University,” Ip said.
Current HKU President Peter Mathieson tendered a surprising early resignation in February and will leave his role by January next year. Arthur Li remains the chairman of the selection committee.
Ip said he decided to run for a seat to safeguard procedural justice, defend institutional autonomy, and push for the HKU Convocation – a statutory advisory body – to gather views of alumni and teaching staff in selecting the new HKU chief.
The election for the seat will be held online by the Convocation. Details are expected to be announced soon.
Recently, a search committee at the Chinese University of Hong Kong selected biotechnology expert Rocky Tuan to be the next vice-chancellor, awaiting possible official confirmation by its governing body later this month. Tuan was criticised for lacking adequate knowledge of Hong Kong and the university when meeting the institution’s stakeholders.
The president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Tony Chan, will also step down in September next year.