Four candidates have been nominated to join the election for a seat on the governing Council of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) with the current term set to end on January 8.

Members need to be full-time employees at HKU. They should not be teachers and should be elected in accordance with regulations.

The candidates include Principal Lecturer of the Faculty of Law Eric Cheung Tat-ming and Felix Ng Kwok-yan of the HKU Employees Union, who is looking to be re-elected. Both supported the appointment of former law dean Johannes Chan Man-mun as pro-vice-chancellor of HKU before he was rejected for the role, Apple Daily reported.

eric cheung
Professor Eric Cheung Tat-ming. Photo: HKFP.

Cheung participated in a silent rally against the Council’s vote not to appoint Chan as the pro-vice-chancellor in October.

“How could these people who are outsiders and do not know anything about academics make a judgment on whether [Johannes Chan] is qualified?” he told HKFP at the rally.

Cheung met the election criteria as he became a full-time lecturer after being an Assistant Professor three years ago. He was nominated by Wong Chi-chung, Assistant Director of the General Education Unit.

Ng was a laboratory superintendent of the School of Biological Sciences. He has served HKU for 40 years. Billy Fung Jing-en, President of the HKU Students’ Union, said he believed Ng was in favour Chan’s appointment, Apple Daily reported.

felix ng kwok yan
Felix Ng Kwok-yan.

Another candidate is Victor Chan Ka-ming, a member of the HKU Staff Association and Assistant Registrar of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine. Chan was nominated by the Association’s Vice-President Stephen Cheung Pok-yin. The Association’s President was the pro-government Central and Western District Councillor Stephen Chan Chit-kwai, who said the rejection of Johannes Chan’s appointment could help to unite HKU staff.

In an interview with the Association Newsletter, Victor Chan Ka-ming proposed four items in his manifesto, which include extending the retirement age to 65 and improving medical and dental welfare. There was no mention of Johannes Chan’s appointment in the interview.

“Dr. Chan also believes that a university is a university, and just as Professor Mathieson and Professor Tsui said, a university is a fortress of freedom of speech. The university should have free space to accommodate different opinions. He will also continue to protect academic freedom, and promote harmony on campus,” read a newsletter.

He said he doubted whether Arthur Li Kwok-cheung‘s possible appointment as the Council chairman would create harmony in the university, Ming Pao reported.

The fourth candidate is Stacy Belcher Lee, Director of the University Archives.

Voting will take place on January 7. The elect could attend the Council meeting in the end of January.

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.