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S’pore assistant professor’s HK university office vandalised after he threatens to fail students who bring politics into class

The university is looking into the matter.

Tanya Ong | October 23, 12:24 pm

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Assistant Professor Tan Yong Chin, who is currently teaching at the City University in Hong Kong (CityU), recently had his office vandalised.

Words, such as “反抗” (resist) and “you are here to teach don’t bring your political agenda into assessment rubric” had been spray-painted on the white wall next to his office.

Photo via Takungpao

This vandalism incident took place after his students received an email informing them to steer clear of political agendas during their class presentation.

Students told they are in university to learn

Tan, who relocated from Singapore for a post at CityU, is with the marketing department of the university.

He teaches a course on online marketing.

According to an article by the Singapore Management University, where he previously studied for a PhD in marketing, Tan arrived at CityU two months ago.

Apple Daily reported that he had allegedly sent an email to students on Oct. 18 saying that students who promote political agendas in their class presentation will be awarded zero marks.

The last line of his email read: “We are here to learn. Do not bring your political agendas into the class.”

Previously, a group of students in his class had reportedly used an image of Winnie the Pooh in their class presentation involving a marketing campaign.

However, according to South China Morning Post, Tan clarified that the email “had nothing to do with the Pooh image or Vans campaign”.

His statement reported by SCMP came after claims that Tan was discontented with images of Winnie The Pooh that were presented by students in his class.

Earlier allegations also claimed that students had made protest-related presentation slides.

The slides featured Chinese tea shop chain Hey Tea and American streetwear brand Vans.

A boycott of Vans, a sneaker brand, was called by anti-government protesters.

Vans had apparently removed entries from its annual Custom Culture sneaker design contest that alluded to the unrest in the city sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition bill.

CityU Students’ Union’s requests

In a Shin Min Daily News report, the university’s Students’ Union cited university assessment regulations, claiming that Tan had added this evaluation criterion inappropriately.

They also requested that the school confirm and address the following:

  • Express disapproval over Tan’s decision regarding this incident
  • Reiterate that the university’s assessment regulations and principles will be strictly observed
  • Request that Tan remove his “zero marks” policy

CityU looking into the matter

CityU has since issued a statement saying that it was not aware of Tan’s email and will look into the matter.

The university also stated that it is an “international university” that teaches its courses in English.

Everything that is taught and learnt should also be related to the content of the course module, CityU added.

University students calling on schools to support them

Some Hong Kong students have been calling on their university leaders to openly support their protest demands.

On Oct. 21, heads of eight university governing councils in Hong Kong, including that of Hong Kong University and CityU, have issued a joint statement saying that assistance provided to arrested students and staff does not represent support for their political beliefs.

They also added that universities “are not battlegrounds for the resolution of political issues”.

Top photo via Takungpao & City University of HK

 

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