The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts has suspended its student union’s right to use school venues and has threatened disciplinary action after it hosted a political forum that contravened its regulations.

After the school refused to provide venues for the event, a forum on methods of resistance took place on April 14 at a small student union room which did not require prior booking.

A director of the school told journalists before the event began that the forum was not approved by the school and that they should leave. During the event, the school broadcast announcements every five minutes asking attendees to leave.

The forum was held at a small student union room at the HKAPA. Photo: Facebook/Au Nok-hin.

On Monday, the school’s deputy director Philip Wong sent a letter to its student union saying its actions “demonstrate a disregard for the Academy, its regulations, and the code of conduct”.

“[W]e have no choice but to suspend until further notice the right of the Students’ Union to use any Academy venues, except for the Students’ Union Office on the G/F,” wrote Wong, as he said that the student union refused to meet with the school’s management to resolve the issue.

Wong added that the letter served as a warning, and the school still hoped to discuss with the union before it decided on whether to convene a disciplinary committee to consider the matter further.

In response, the student union said on Tuesday that the code of conduct mentioned was established by the school to regulate students’ personal actions, that it should not be used to regulate collective actions of the student union that received mandate from students.

“Using the code of conduct in an attempt to interfere with student union affairs… is without any legal reasoning and is unconvincing,” it said, adding that it has not broken any laws during the event.

”Click to expand: The APA letter in full”

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The student union said it had notified the school when it knew of the attendance of journalists, and stated that they had a right to be on the scene.

It said it will invite a credible third party to join a meeting with the school, and it will be recorded.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.