Newsletter No. 220

University Council Resolves to Proceed with Discussions with the Government on Institutional Integration A t it s meeting hel d o n 28th March , th e Universit y Council receive d the Repor t o f the University' s Task Forc e t o Advise o n Institutiona l Integratio n an d endorsed its recommendations, authorizing the Counci l Chairman an d the Vice-Chancellor t o pursue discussio n with th e governmen t o n th e possibilit y o f integratio n between Th e Chines e Universit y o f Hon g Kon g an d the Hong Kong Universit y o f Scienc e an d Technolog y (HKUST). From Octobe r 200 2 to March 2003, the Task Forc e held 10 meetings and organized four consultation sessions to solicit views and comments from staff , students, alumni, and other members of the University community . The Tas k Forc e recommende d t o th e Universit y Council that it should affirm its wish to pursue discussion with th e government an d HKUST o n the way forward , in order to come to an understanding on the many issue s that need to be resolved before a decision can be made; and that the Council Chairman and the Vice-Chancello r should be authorized to initiate formal dialogue with the government i n th e firs t instanc e an d t o repor t t o th e Council thereon, within the following parameters : • tha t the government shoul d firs t formall y affir m tha t the purpose o f the proposed integration i s to improv e quality an d create a university capabl e o f competin g at the highest international levels, rather than to reduce cost, an d that, i n particular , th e uni t o f fundin g pe r student w i ll no t be adjusted downwards fo r increase d size o r efficienc y gained , s o tha t th e integrate d institution can have the resources to achieve its goals ; • tha t i n addition , the governmen t an d the UGC agre e to conside r th e integrate d institution , provide d i t satisfies certai n conditions t o be agreed upon, a s the primary candidat e fo r th e focuse d an d enhance d public an d private suppor t cite d i n th e Sutherlan d Report, w i t h suc h publi c suppor t t o star t onc e integration plans ar e accepted by al l parties ; • tha t th e governmen t furthe r pledge s t o support , i n principle, th e added administrative cos t incurred durin g the transition (as front-end loading for a new university ) and the capital spending needed to build extra teaching and offic e spac e fo r decantin g o f department s an d programmes, w i t h th e leve l o f suc h suppor t t o b e negotiated; • tha t th e scenari o t o b e explore d i s initiall y a federa l structure evolvin g ove r a period o f tim e t o a singl e unitary university ; an d • tha t the government recognize s the issues and concerns presented i n th e Task Force' s Report , an d pledges tha t these will be seriously addressed in any integration plans. The Task Force furthe r recommended that, subject t o favourable indication s fro m the government o n the abov e issues and at a time judged by the Council Chairma n to be suitable, th e Counci l Chairma n an d the Vice-Chancello r should be encouraged to initiate dialogue also with HKUS T on an y an d all matter s concernin g a possible integratio n between th e two universities , wit h a view t o improvin g communication an d mutua l understanding , and , wher e appropriate, also with a view to joining hands in discussions with the government o n the way forward . In agreemen t w i t h th e Sutherlan d Repor t o f th e University Grant s Committe e an d the government , th e Task Force believes that Hong Kong needs as a matter o f urgency t o 'strategicall y identif y an d creat e a smal l number of institutions capabl e of competing at the highest international levels' . Th e Counci l concur s tha t fo r th e benefit o f th e c ommu n i t y , an d especiall y futur e generations o f universit y students , C U H K shoul d contribute t o the establishment of such an elite institution . The status quo i s not sustainable , eithe r fo r Hon g Kon g or fo r it s universities , becaus e i n a competitive world , those wh o d o no t advanc e w i l l b e overtake n — Hon g Kong b y othe r citie s an d ou r universitie s b y othe r universities i n the region . In the short to medium term there are not likely t o be fundamental change s i n the principles an d methodolog y by wh i c h universitie s i n Hon g Ko n g ar e funde d (namely, largel y accordin g t o studen t numbers) ; likewise th e leve l o f suc h fundin g i s no t likel y t o improve. Thu s th e resource s require d t o achiev e excellence ca n only come with relativel y larg e studen t numbers, whic h w i l l allo w a universit y t o achiev e economies o f scale, to command critical mass, to offe r a sufficientl y wid e rang e o f courses , an d t o exer t influence. But the present size of universities in Hong Kong is too smal l fo r thi s purpose , an d there i s littl e chanc e i n the foreseeable futur e fo r th e university secto r i n Hon g Kong to expand further. Given these constraints, the Task Force is of the view that integration between CUHK an d another universit y o f comparable strengt h and missio n would be a good way to achieve this goal. This constitutes a stron g prima facie cas e t o pursu e integratio n wit h HKU ST. The integratio n would be desirable, and i f the right condition s wer e provided, also feasible . Nevertheless, in the event of an integration between CUHK an d HKUST, ther e woul d be many issue s an d difficulties which cannot be addressed by CUHK alone , in particula r th e resource s require d fo r a relativel y smooth transition . The Council o f CUHK hope d that the Governmen t would tak e thes e matter s int o consideratio n an d giv e the University it s response a s early a s possible. The Counci l o f CUH K wa s appreciativ e o f th e efforts mad e b y member s o f th e Tas k Force , whos e recommendations wer e made after months of extensiv e study an d objective, rationa l an d careful deliberation . The Council also thanked all staff, students, alumni an d other member s o f the Universit y wh o ha d contribute d their view s o n suc h an important matter , which woul d affect th e University's futur e development . For details of the Report of the Task Force to Advise on Institutional Integration, please consult http://www . Task Force Set up to Combat SARS F ollowing the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), commonl y known as atypical pneumonia, i n Hong Kong, the CUHK SAR S Campus Task Force was se t up o n 2 1 s t March t o monito r an d assess its impac t o n members o f the CUH K community an d th e campu s environment . Th e Tas k Forc e w i l l giv e advic e o n an d implement preventiv e measure s t o safeguar d the healt h o f staf f and student s agains t infection and keep them updated on information related to the disease and its prevention . The mos t up-to-dat e informatio n relate d t o SAR S ca n be foun d a t http://www.cuhk . The compositio n o f the Task Force i s as follows : Chairman • Prof . Jac k Cheng (Pro-Vice-Chancellor ) Members • Dr . Kennet h Pan g (Director , Universit y Healt h Service ) • Mr . Jaco b Leung (Universit y Secretary ) • Mr . S.W . Le e (Deput y Registrar ) • Prof . H o Pua y Pen g (College Coordinator* , New Asi a College ) • Mrs . Paulin e Ka n (Informatio n Coordinator , Universit y Healt h Service ) • Ms . Alice H o (Communicatio n Coordinator , Pro-Vice-Chancellor' s Office ) • Ms . Emil y Hu i (Director , Informatio n & Publi c Relation s Office ) • Ms . Amy Tsu i (Representative , Informatio n & Publi c Relation s Office ) • Mr . La m Shi-ka i (Representative , Universit y Safet y & Environmen t Office ) • Mrs . Conni e Cha n (Representative , Offic e o f Studen t Affairs ) • Mr . Aaron L i (Representative , CUH K Staf f Association) • Mr . Michae l Cha n (Representative, CUH K Staf f Association) • Prof . Kwa n Hoi-sha n (Representative , CUH K Teachers ' Association ) • Mr . Tsan g Wai-hang (Studen t representative , CUH K Student s Union ) • Mr . Pa u Kin-ho (Studen t representative , Unite d College Student s Union ) Secretary • Ms . Jenn y La m • T o be taken up by the deans of students o r college secretarie s o f the fou r constituen t colleges. Prof. Ho Puay Peng assumed the post on 14t h April, succeeding Prof. Cheun g Yuet-wah o f Chun g Ch i College . 1 No. 220 19th April 2003