Letter to Lingnanians
29 September 2014
Dear colleagues, students and alumni,
Over the past few days, some students and citizens assembled outside the Government headquarters to express their demands on Hong Kong’s political reform. The event resulted in injuries and arrests. Apart from being extremely worried about the event’s development, we are deeply concerned about the safety of Lingnan staff, students and alumni who participated in the protest.
Five Lingnan students were arrested during the protest held from 26 September until early morning the next day, according to our understanding. They were all released afterwards. Colleagues from Student Services Centre (SSC) have all along tried their best to maintain contact with the participating students, and reminded them to be aware of their own safety. SSC staff also tried to get in touch with students under arrest personally to understand their situations. The University will continue to provide emotion counselling and other assistance to students in need. Some academic staff also provided legal advice to help students at this difficult time.
With the formal launch of the Occupy Central campaign in the early morning of 28 September, students and citizens participating in the protest clashed with the police. Although the University has ascertained the safety of some participating Lingnan staff and students, we are however still trying to get in touch with other Lingnan participants to understand their situation. We shall continue to monitor closely the latest developments, and provide any assistance to staff and students in need as far as possible.
The University is committed to safeguarding the freedom of speech, and has all along supported its staff, students and alumni to express their opinions on social issues peacefully and rationally. We call on students and citizens participating in the protest as well as the police to exercise restraint. All sectors of the community should also stay calm and respond to the latest developments in a civilised, peaceful and rational manner, in order to avoid any further escalation of the confrontation.
The University will maintain normal operation, with teaching and learning activities conducted as usual. Meanwhile we shall keep track of the latest developments and make appropriate arrangements according to the actual situation. We call on staff and students in need to contact the SSC, so that we can provide timely assistance.
Leonard K Cheng