Concern over renaming at HKU

Hong Kong Uni puts a donor's name on med school, triggering worries about academic freedom

Jane Parry(jeparry@netvigator.com)
May 23, 2005

The University of Hong Kong announced last week that it was going to rename its faculty of medicine, which conducts groundbreaking research into severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza, in honor of a local tycoon who recently donated USD $128 million. The decision prompted alumni of the faculty to formally protest this week (May 23), saying the deal amounts to a sale of the faculty's reputation and could undermine the institution's academic independence.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation announced the donation on May 5, saying that while there were no strings attached, the foundation wished to support education and biomedicine. On May 18, the University Council formally accepted the donation and at the same meeting proposed the renaming the Faculty of Medicine in recognition of the donation.

In a letter to alumni, the dean of the faculty, Lam Shiu-kum, said: "It will be the beginning of a modern...

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