Alumnus Chan Wing Chi's
notes on the Deanship issue (English
Dear CU fellows,
Recently V-C Lawrence Lau released an open letter on the Deanship
issue on February 5, stating that he, himself, has already "invited"
faculties to "establish" a Dean's Selection/Appointment/Implementation
Consultation Committee. Binding by the current CUHK Ordinance [Statute
15], CU's Deans have been "elected" from a pool of senior
faculties who, in practice, concurrently provide additional services
for Deanship. On one side, I personally agree that such concurrent
system, not the election process, is not quite proper and could be
considered for amendment accordingly. On the other side, I am quite
concerned that V-C Lau's "inviting" action could have created
a potential legitimate crisis that was not known to the CU community
["The Council and the Senate may establish such committees as
they think fit"-- CUHK Ordinance 10(1) ]. According to the legitimate
structure of 1997 Hong Kong Re-unification Laws, any proposals submitted
for amending any one of the Hong Kong Ordinances, including the CUHK
Ordinance, must be referred to the Legislative Council through a certain
legal and legislative procedures for review, approval, and announcement.
In fact, the 1997 Hong Kong Laws, under a monumental One-Country-Two-Systems
structure, have been systematically binding by a form of common law
that is, by power, totally independent from the Hong Kong SAR Government's
executive branch. So the CU Chancellor (who is also the Chief Executive
of Hong Kong), if even at the request of the CU Council, has no legitimate
power to amend any Statutes of the CUHK Ordinance.
As a matter of fact, I do not disagree CU to consider for a managerial
change in employing full-time Deans for managing complex academic
affairs at a business frequency that has already gone beyond the faculty's
concurrent workload. A group of CU alumni, two weeks ago, met with
the Treasurer and Chairman of the CU Council and expressed their deep
concern for any unwanted harsh in making a quick structural change
on the CU's Deanship. So grateful the CU Council, under the leadership
of Dr. Edgar Cheng, has paid kind attention to the alumni's plead
and only "noted" to, but not approved, a "Report"
referred by V-C Lau on the Deanship issue at their last Council Meeting.
The CU Council, so far, has not approved for amending Statute 15 and,
of course, never referred that Statute under the CUHK Ordinance to
the Legislative Council for review and granting a legitimate amendment.
While "the Council and the Senate may from time to time make
decrees and regulations respectively to direct and regulate the affairs
of the University" [CUHK Ordinance 14], I wonder whether V-C
Lau's "inviting" action in establishing a Dean's Selection/Appointment/Implementation
Consultation Committee may have already bumped up a legitimate disorder
in overstepping the CUHK Council and the Hong Kong Legislative Council.
Furthermore I would like to express my heartfelt concern in sharing
with the CU community for the follows.
1) The CU's Governance Consultation Committee was consisted of scholars
mostly from Oxford and Stanford that, due to cultural boundaries,
those scholars might not have an in-depth knowledge of Hong Kong's
socio-economics and education structure; they even could have been
blinded to the history of the colonial government's dismantling the
sovereignties of CU's three founding colleges, that were legitimately
structured under a "federal system" binding by the original
CUHK Ordinance, in 1977. Moreover, it tends to be a prejudice that
CU, under the current V-C's administration, seldom recruited overseas
Hong Kong scholars, who are either CU alumni or sons/daughters of
Hong Kong with bilingual skills, to participate in major consultation
teams for CU.
2) The over-emphasize of Oxford/Stanford experiences may not be directly
relevant for CU's long term development because Standford is privately
owned/operated with an independent Board of Directors (No "ordinance"
matter!!), while Oxford has enriched Royal resources with a history
of several hundred years. However both institutions do have a specially
high student/faculty radio and voluminous library/archival collections
that the CU community could even feel "jealous". Anyhow,
state universities of the US and public institutions of Canada should
be more relevant for CU in absorbing their advanced managerial experiences,
e.g. UCLA, University of Toronto, etc. All state/public universities,
binding by law, have a legitimate relationship with the public and
Last but not the least, I turn to be sympathetic to V-C Lawrence Lau
that he, even by now, does not perform, as a V-C, in a way showing
he has been assisted by a cabinet with sufficient understanding on
the legitimacy of the CUHK Ordinance and the four constituent colleges'
Chan Wing Chi
1978 CCC Graduate (Music)