The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) has ceased to recognise its Students’ Union (SU), the institute announced in an internal email sent to students and faculty members on Thursday.

The university will also stop offering support to the union, including the collection of membership fees, providing network accounts and services, and offering IT support. Additionally, the SU will lose access to its office space and the right to book and use campus facilities and venues.

Education University of Hong Kong
Education University of Hong Kong. Photo: Education University of Hong Kong.

The union’s HK$9 million reserve will also be “kept under the custody” of the university’s Finance Office.

“As a matter of principle, SU’s participation in university affairs is built upon its representation of the student community,” the email sent from the university’s senior management to faculty members and students read.

“Regrettably, SU has been operated in the form of a ‘provisional’ body for the past four consecutive years, without proper mandate from its reduced membership base.”

The university said that the SU’s Executive Committee and Editorial Board failed to form a cabinet through an election, and that “attempts are being made to further lower the already unreasonably low threshold” that four people could run the board.

“If this goes unchecked, a handful of students can continue to take control of SU, its governance and resources without having to undergo any election process, let along securing a majority of votes,” the email read.

“We therefore consider it necessary to conduct an overhaul of student governance, especially in terms of SU’s status, constitution and representativeness.”

Latest university to cut union ties

The EdUHK became the latest of the city’s educational institutes to cut ties with its students’ union, following in the footsteps of several other universities, including the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

HKU University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

CUHK’s management requested its students’ union register as an independent organisation in February last year, and stopped collecting membership fees after saying that the union had failed to clarify “potentially unlawful statements,” made false allegations against the university, and “exploited the campus for their political propaganda.”

HKU stopped collecting fees and providing financial services for its students’ union last April and cut all ties with the student body in July last year after the city’s leader Carrie Lam called on the school to take further action against the student body over a retracted statement mourning the death of a man who stabbed a police officer before killing himself.

HKFP has reached out to the EdUHK for comment.

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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.