College representatives from Chinese University of Hong Kong in talks for new student union 9 months after disbandment of 50-year-old body

·3-min read

College representatives from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) are in talks to rebuild a new student union, nine months after the disbandment of the previous 50-year-old body.

A total of 30 members from across eight CUHK schools have formed a joint working group to draft a new constitution, aiming to eventually hold a referendum to set up a new body. Only one college was not represented.

The working group announced on Thursday on Instagram that student representatives from the colleges’ unions were co-organising the “Joint-College SU Working Group” (JCSU) after the campus lost its body to represent students.

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The development came more than a week after university vice-chancellor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi revealed in an interview with the Post that efforts were under way to set up a new student union.

The CUHK student union disbanded last October, eight months after school management cut ties with the body citing possible breaches of the national security law.

Chinese University of Hong Kong’s student union disbands under pressure

The working group said the JCSU “not only cares about issues surrounding the campus and representing students to voice their opinions, it is also discussing possibilities of rebuilding the CUHK student union”.

Chinese University has taken steps to set up a new students’ union. Photo: Winson Wong
Chinese University has taken steps to set up a new students’ union. Photo: Winson Wong

The 30 representatives are from Chung Chi College, New Asia College, United College, Shaw College, S.H. Ho College, CW Chu College, Wu Yee Sun College and Lee Woo Sing College.

Only Morningside College was not included, but no reason was given.

“Two convenors of the JCSU have been elected among members. They are responsible for administration and communication to all members,” the group said, adding it would approach students and collect views on rebuilding the union through smaller counterparts across the colleges.

The group said it would draft a new constitution for the student union, carry out consultation and hold a referendum in a bid to get approval. Bimonthly meetings will be held to report on progress and coordinate interactions between the university and students.

A symbol of the working group posted online.
A symbol of the working group posted online.

A CUHK spokesman said it was pleased to see the formation of an inter-college student representative organisation, adding it would support “registered” bodies.

“CUHK looks forward to constructive dialogue and collaborative work with students to discuss the best models to develop a student body that is inclusive of a wide and representative range of students such as local, non-local, undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts. CUHK is committed to supporting student representative bodies on the basis that they are registered, and operate under an approved constitution,” he said.

Is Rocky Tuan a patriot? Chinese University of Hong Kong head addresses criticism

The former union said last October that it had been in a dilemma after the university demanded that it register as an independent society or company and bear legal responsibility for itself.

The body took legal advice on the university’s decision and was advised it “did not need to be registered independently” as the relevant ordinances governing society registrations were not applicable to a student group.

“We are now torn between following the legal advice and complying with the university administration’s demand,” the union said at the time.

It later adopted a motion to “accept the collective resignation of the student representatives of the [Chinese University Student Union] Council and to dissolve”.

Tuan defended management’s decision to require the body to register with police, stressing it was based on legalities, in a wide-ranging interview with the Post last month.

He said a more representative body was needed and efforts were under way to set one up.

This article College representatives from Chinese University of Hong Kong in talks for new student union 9 months after disbandment of 50-year-old body first appeared on South China Morning Post

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