Members of a Hong Kong university student union have received disciplinary action for alleged misconduct after they held a memorial service for a student and posted promotional materials related to the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Students’ Union said on Facebook on Saturday that its officers were given penalties including being banned from using school facilities for six months, a 75-hour campus service order, and a disciplinary record.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Photo: HKUST.

According to the student union, the school accused them of misconduct for holding a memorial service on the half-year anniversary of Alex Chow Tsz-lok’s death – the HKUST student died from his injuries after falling from a car park near a protest scene in November 2019.

The union was also accused of violating school rules for repainting the “hope lies in the people, and change begins with resistance” on “Frog Road,” an alleyway on campus where the slogan first appearing during the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

Members of the union were also penalised for posting promotional materials relating to the anti-extradition bill protests on the student union’s notice board.

Aside from being banned from using school facilities, the president and internal vice-president of the student group were also suspended for a semester.

‘We will never concede’

The Student Union said that the university’s decision was “unreasonable,” and the president told RTHK that he would appeal the school’s decision.

“Facing the school’s oppression, we will never concede,” said the student union. “Over the past year, Hong Kong people have not given up when facing totalitarianism, we vow to continue the indomitable spirit, and act on the benefits of UST students.”

In response to media enquiries, the school said that there were instructions regarding events and the use of campus facilities, and such regulations would be amended according to public health and safety considerations.

HKUST said that, if students would still not follow such instructions after the school’s repeated advice, the registrar can decide whether to transfer the case to the student disciplinary committee depending on the severity of the case.

The school added that students could give evidence and an explanation during the disciplinary procedure, as well as file an appeal.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.