On November 4th, students of HKU received an email from HKU Student Union that there was an overwhelming support for a general polling held on October 26th to 30th.
The number of voters was 5,316, which HKUSU said “The two motions were overwhelmingly carried as more than five thousand students voted to show their stance, clearly substantiating the public opinions. C.Y.Leung must take heed of this result and respond to students’ demands accordingly,” in their email.
However, there are 16,187 undergraduate students across all faculties this academic year according to the 2015 statistics released by the university. The number of 5,316 student voters therefore comprise around 32% of the total undergraduate student populations at HKU.
“I think the rest 68% of the student body simply have no interest in participating,” said Joey Leung, a first-year Social Science student. Leung further added that she thought the number of voters was “enough” as it was clear that those who chose not to participate showed they do not have an opinion.
The polling was conducted in response to HKU Council’s refusal to appoint Chan, former Dean of the Faculty of Law, to pro-vice chancellorship in September. Many perceived the act as a politically influenced decision that compromised HKU’s academic autonomy.
In October, thousands of students and staffs of university held public demonstration in protest against the HKU Council’s decision of rejecting Chan to pro-vice chancellorship.
The first motion asked voters whether teaching staff, non-teaching staff and students should approve the Chairman of HKU Council before he or she may assume the position. The second motion asked voters whether they agree Arthur Li Kwok-cheung is not suitable to assume any governance position within the university.
Arthur Li Kwok-cheung is currently a member of HKU Council and also among the six members appointed into the Council by current Chief Executive, CY Leung. Li became centre of attention when Prof. Johannes Chan Man-mun was rejected the position of pro-vice chancellor after a controversial vote by the Council earlier in September.
According to the statement disclosed by the Chairman of HKUSU, Billy Fung Jing-en, Li was said to have criticised Chan’s academic credibility during the meeting and voted against appointing Chan to pro-vice chancellorship base on this reason.
The HKUSU constitution stated that all undergraduate students are allegeable to participate in General Polling, while part-time and postgraduate students may become allegeable upon paying membership fee.
The HKUSU had yet to respond to The Lion Post’s request for the number of full-time, part-time and postgraduate students who vote in General Polling