My Very Dear Fellow Convocation Members,

A day or two after I had my Inaugural Issue uploaded, I am already getting feedback from some of you. As would be expected, the comments came in different forms and shades, but were mostly positive and constructive. I am encouraged.

Before I go further, let me say a few words on why I am doing this. There are two main reasons. First, as I had said a few days ago, I hope it would improve communication between us so that over time a constructive dialogue can be established between members of the Standing Committee (SC) and any member who wishes to be heard. It follows that the Column’s usefulness would very much depend on input from both the SC and the membership at large. Secondly, I hope to put a personal touch on members of the SC in general and on the office of the chairman in particular. Now, every one of the 24 SC members were elected through due process and collectively, they are your legal and lawful representatives. I quickly add that we cannot however represent you or even reflect your views until we have a tried and tested mechanism in place to collect your views. We do not have that mechanism yet, and we are working to develop one. That is why, the SC has been very cautious in making public statements in the past, for we would not wish to misrepresent the Convocation as a body.

On the second point, the insatiable public demand for information will inevitably put pressure on the Convocation and hence the SC to offer a position on issues affecting the University, but we do not see this as a reason to act irrationally or irresponsibly by making public statements on which we do not really have a direct locus. In the end, it is for the SC to withstand such pressure, and here I would add that it is often much more difficult to maintain silence than to say what appears to be convenient at the time.

Still on this point, I am aware that you may find it difficult to discern whether the views in this column are my personal views or the views of the SC or for that matter the views of the Convocation. On the other hand, no amount of explanation from me will relieve me of my responsibility for what I have said or would say in this column; and I accept it as given as part and parcel of the office the moment I accepted the job, with humility and a lot of trepidation.

The incident of the students interrupting the proceedings of the Council is a case in point. Already, the President and Vice Chancellor has spoken eloquently, the ten Deans have spoken forcefully and with authority, and Professor K Y Yuen has spoken passionately and with compassion. What more can I say on the matter except that the SC and I agree with the position of the University Management and earnestly hope that the matter can be resolved expeditiously and effectively.

It is clear that the University now badly needs a solution, but the Convocation is not vested with the statutory power to offer solutions. We are a platform for exchange of views. Nevertheless, we stand ready to help and will waste no time to offer the same when called upon. We can be a mediator

I hope to talk to you again soon.


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