Peter Mathieson Resigned in a Sudden

Arthur Li will Lead the Recruitment for New Vice-Chancellor

PTU News Reporter

Professor Peter Mathieson, the Vice-Chancellor of HKU, emailed his staff and students on the 2 February to announce that he has already resigned from HKU. He will be leaving his position as the Vice-Chancellor of HKU in January next year and will become the next Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. His sudden resignation has astounded the society. Ip Kin-yuen, Legislative Councillor of the Education functional constituency and a member of the Court of HKU, expressed his shock and indicated that he did not believe it wa solely personal reasons for the resignation of Prof. Mathieson with an incomplete contract.

Ip Kin-yuen: It should not solely be personal reasons

Ip Kin-yuen published a statement on the same day expressing his shock towards the news of the resignation of Prof. Mathieson. He thinks that the resignation of Mathieson indicates that the management of HKU is difficult after all the crisis in HKU the year before and during the term of office of Arthur Li as the Chairman of the HKU Council . He believes that these difficulties are the reasons leading to the resignation of Mathieson. Eric Cheung Tat-ming, Principal Lecturer of Faculty of Law and an elected member of the HKU Council, said in a radio programme that Mathieson was placed in a faraway position by the HKU Council. He even described the resignation of Mathieson was somehow ‘expected’

Prof. Mathieson started his position as the Vice-Chancellor of HKU in 2014 with a term of office for 5 years. It is a very rare situation for one to resign only after 3 years in office. He held a press conference on the next day after his announcement of resignation. When being questioned with his relationship with Arthur Li, Prof. Mathieson said that their relationship was ery good? and denied that his resignation was politically related. A reporter asked whether he had been retained in his resignation, but he did not give a direct response to the question.

Arthur Li will be responsible for the recruitment of new Vice-Chancellor

HKU will need to start its recruitment process for a new Vice-Chancellor. In accordance with past practice, the Chairman of the Council will be the Chairman of the Search Committee. This means Arthur Li will be responsible for leading the recruitment process. Arthur Li is an extremely unpopular person in the educational sector. He has been said to be unsuitable for the position as the Chairman of the Council of HKU in many different surveys and votings.

These include the 97.8% objection against him as the Chairman of the Council in the EGM of the HKU Convocation on 29 November 2015. The survey conducted by the HKPTU in October 2015 resulted in a 74% of the respondents throught that Arthur Li was not suitable for the position of the Chairman of the Council, with 61% believed that he was an extremely unsuitable candidate. No matter the staff or non-staff of HKU, there are 72% and 74% of objection rate of Arthur Li respectively. This reflects that he is an extremely unpopular figure regardless inside or outside of HKU.

Ip Kin-yuen worries that the credibility of the Search Committee will be affected under the leadership of Arthur Li. He thinks that HKU needs to learn from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor crisis in the past and urges the university to start the recruitment process with strict accordance to the established traditions and rules of HKU and maintain proper transparency and credibility throughout the process.