英文

Editorial:Dispute involving the HKU Students' Union Council should be handled with empathy

【明報專訊】Last week the Hong Kong University Students' Union Council passed a motion to ''[appreciate the] sacrifice to Hong Kong'' from the attacker who stabbed a police officer on July 1. The incident continues to smoulder. HKU announced yesterday (July 13) that it will no longer recognise the role of the Students' Union on campus. It will solemnly investigate the incident and take action against the students involved.

In the organisational structure of the HKU Students' Union, the Union Council's role is similar to that of a public opinion body representing all students. It co-operates with and supervises the work of the executive committee of the Students' Union. It is the third highest decision-making body after the General Polling and the General Meeting. The Union Council's motion that ''appreciated'' the attacker was theoretically equivalent to an expression that ''appreciated'' the attacker on behalf of all HKU students. Not only was it strongly condemned by the university's management and the public, but some clubs under or associated with the Students' Union also distanced themselves from it, stressing that the motion did not represent their position. Although the Union Council withdrew the motion and apologised afterwards and many Union Council representatives and executive committee members resigned, the controversy has not ended. The chief executive has said that the university should continue to follow up the incident. In the afternoon of the same day, the university announced that it would no longer recognise the role of the Students' Union on campus, saying that it would solemnly investigate the incident concerning the Union Council in accordance with university procedures and further deal with the students in accordance with the outcomes of the investigation.

The dispute involving the Union Council should be viewed and handled with empathy in two ways. Signs of local terrorism are growing in Hong Kong, and society must say a resounding no to violence and extreme ideas. The Union Council's motion ''appreciating'' the attacker was hardly acceptable because it glorified violence, it contained extreme content, it was outside the bounds of ethics, and it deviated from empathy. Some students have seriously improper moral concepts, and the university has a responsibility to follow up the matter and rectify it lest it become customary. However, when it comes to how to deal with the students involved, in addition to acting in accordance with the rules, the university should also show empathy.

The motion expressing appreciation was condemned by many sides. Three days later, members of the Union Council and the Students' Union withdrew the motion, apologised and resigned. Some people question whether the students involved have stirred up a hornet's nest and whether their decision to bow in apology as a remedial measure was only a way to get out of trouble as they were worried that they would be kicked out of the university or even arrested. However, no matter whether the apology was sincere or not, the reality is that the Students' Union has admitted that the motion was inappropriate and has publicly stated that the Union ''does not promote unlawful behaviour''. By doing so it is trying to rectify the unethical message it was conveying to the public before. A total of 30 student representatives voted for the motion that day. By becoming students in Hong Kong's best university, they must have fulfilled the aspirations held for many years by their families. If these students are expelled from university due to this incident, 30 families will also suffer alongside the students. Disciplinary actions need to reflect the seriousness of the situation. But it does not mean that the harshest punishment must be used. It will be appropriate for the university to act with empathy and handle the students involved in other ways rather than expel them.

明報社評 2021.07.14:港大學生評議會風波 兩個「同理心」是關鍵

香港大學學生會評議會上周通過動議,「感激」七一刺警案行兇者「為港犧牲」,事件持續發酵,港大昨天宣布,不再承認港大學生會在校內的角色,並將嚴肅調查評議會事件,處理涉事學生。

港大學生會組織架構中,評議會角色,類近一個代表全體學生的「民意機關」,配合並監察內閣幹事會工作,除了全民投票和全民大會,評議會是學生組織中最高決策機構。評議會的「感激」動議,理論上等同代表全體港大學生「感激」行兇者,不僅惹來校方和外界強烈譴責,就連學生會一些屬會及關連組織也割席,強調評議會的議案,不代表他們的立場。雖然評議會事後撤回議案並道歉,多名評議會代表與學生會幹事會成員亦辭職,惟風波並未因此了結。行政長官認為,大學方面應該繼續跟進事件,同日下午,校方宣布不再承認港大學生會在校內的角色,將按大學程序嚴肅調查評議會事件,根據調查結果,對涉事學生作進一步處理。

這次評議會風波,應以「兩個同理心」看待和處理。本土恐怖主義苗頭正在香港滋長,社會必須清楚向暴力和極端思想說不。評議會的「感激」議案,美化暴力、內容偏激,踰越道德底線,偏離了同理心,令人難以接受。部分學生道德觀念出現嚴重偏差,校方有責任跟進和糾正,以免習非成是,如何處理涉事學生,除了按規矩辦事,亦應展現同理心。

「感激動議」惹來多方譴責,事隔3天,評議會和學生會成員撤回議案道歉辭職。有人質疑涉事學生捅了蜜蜂窩,擔心可能被「踢出校」甚至被捕,躬身道歉「補鑊」不過是脫身之計,然而不管道歉是否真誠,現實是學生會承認議案不當,公開表示「無意鼓勵任何非法行為」,嘗試糾正之前向外界傳遞的有違道德信息。當日有份投下贊成票的學生代表合共30人,能夠成為天子門生,相信是家人期盼多年的願望,若因今次事件被開除學籍,受罪的除了當事人,還有30個家庭。紀律處分需要反映事態的嚴重性,不代表必須用上最重的處分,校方本着同理心,以「踢出校」以外的方式處理涉事學生,乃是可取做法。

■/ Glossary 生字 /

resounding /rɪˈzaʊndɪŋ/

very loud and continuing for a long time

customary /ˈkʌstəməri/

if sth is customary, it is what people usually do in a particular place or situation

a hornet's nest:a very difficult or unpleasant situation, esp. in which a lot of people get very angry and complain

■英語社評聲檔:link.mingpao.com/53000.htm

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