Assistant Professor Tan Yong Chin, who teaches a course on online marketing at the City University in Hong Kong (CUHK), earned the ire and hatred of his students that led to the scandalous vandalism act committed in his office and a controversy that involves the application of political ideas in educational activities.

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 walls next to his office.

Allegedly, the vandalism incident occurred following an email his students received notifying them to distance themselves from politics and steer away from political agendas during class.

Political agendas = zero marks

As reported by Apply Daily, the email was sent to students on Oct. 18 telling them that those who promote political agendas during class presentations will be given zero marks.

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

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The email reportedly came after a group of students in his class had used an image of Winnie the Pooh in their class presentation that involved a marketing campaign.

CUHK students seeking help from school authorities

They also requested that the school:

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

CUHK investigating

CUHK 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, CUHK added.

Students invoking support from school leaders

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A number of 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 CUHK, have issued a joint statement stating 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.” -/TISG