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Together, We shall overcome!
I write this newsletter with sorrow and sadness, and plea for everyone at CityU to join hands to restore our intelligent, caring and vigorous University community. I also call for joint efforts by all members to help rebuild a safe and comfortable learning and work environment.
Since the start of the social unrest in June, we have closely followed the rapidly changing circumstances in Hong Kong and constantly discussed their implications on our campus life. The Emergency Response Unit (ERU), appointed by me and led by Professor Horace Ip, Vice-President (Student Affairs), and Mr Sunny Lee, Vice-President (Administration), with full support from coordinating units, has worked around the clock to protect the safety of our staff and students, and to help members in need. For example, when our campus was in danger of major disruptions, we promptly implemented measures to ensure the safety of our community. When evening public transport services were interrupted, we provided transportation for staff and students serving different routes. Many unprecedented and difficult decisions were taken and implemented and the University community has been kept posted of the decisions and updates on all the circumstances in a timely manner. I would like to extend my profound gratitude to colleagues who have contributed to ensuring the safety of the University community over the past few months especially those performing emergency duties during challenging periods. I am also thankful for the on-going care and support of the community, which has been crucial to our handling of these difficult situations.
A key element in university education is that diverse perspectives should be heard and examined in a safe and free environment. University autonomy and academic freedom should be respected in order to create an atmosphere that fosters innovation and creativity, and for students to develop and apply knowledge in support of social and economic advancement. I believe that to uphold campus autonomy, the University must remain politically neutral and should not be involved in political games.
This is a tough time for Hong Kong and for CityU. Once again, I ask the Government to listen, to complete the objective review as soon as possible, to take the lead in restoring public order in Hong Kong, and to implement measures to improve the well-being of our society. I urge our students and staff to respect the rule of law, accommodate each other’s views in a pluralistic world, strive for common ground and acknowledge the rights of all members of the CityU community to enjoy a fulfiling campus life. I call on all of you to work with “heart” to bring the University back on the right track to provide an environment conducive for world-class research and learning.
Together, we shall overcome!
President and University Distinguished Professor