The Chinese motto on the University's crest is taken from the Confucian classics. Great Learning and refers to moral and intellectual enrichment of human lives.
Sapientia et Virtus conveys the application of knowledge to the necessities of life, subject to moral restraints. The grant of the coat of arms to the University occurred in two stages. On 14 May 1913, shortly after its foundation, the University was granted a shield and a motto by the College of Arms In 1981.
For sometime there has been criticism the University was loosing its scholarship lustre.
Questions raised over two University of Hong Kong academics were accused of mishandling donations involving Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting has not helped the cause.
Leaked tapes in October 2015, sparked a controversy. Li spoke of legal action against students charging into the Council meeting room in protest and challenged members with divergent views on public accountability and freedom of the press. In November, HKU alumni voted overwhelmingly against appointing Li as Council chairman.
Thousands took to the streets hand in hand on the first Sunday of 2016 saw a large-scale protest against the appointment of former education minister Arthur Li Kwok-Cheung to helm the governing body of the University of Hong Kong. Unlike previous protests, attended mostly by staff, students and alumni of HKU, the march was led by twenty organisations from various universities and concern groups, as they claimed the crisis affected society wide.
On 30 January Li chaired the council for the first time as Chairman appointed by C.Y .Leung. There were chaotic scenes at the University of Hong Kong in the early hours on the Wednesday morning as its new Council chairman, Arthur Li, was trapped in a school building by hundreds of angry students demanding he come out to talk to them.
The students had been calling for a review of the way the university is governed claiming
political interference. Earlier, the students clashed with security guards and police after they tried to prevent several council members from leaving the school. At least one person was injured. Li was trapped in the building for several hours but later left with the help of police.
After the meeting, the council released a statement it agreed to set up a review panel to study the governance and effectiveness of the university, but not immediately. The student’s confrontational approach and King Arthur Li’s well known combatively and divisive style did not promise better relations. Li directed a vitriolic attack against his own students “they were like drug addicts”.
Idealistic students claim they were fighting for their own academic freedom. Many said Li could have done better by channelling the student’s idealism towards worth while positive quests?
The “widely held view remains” Li is not the right person to address the current crisis governance at HKU to restore confidence in the university? If not who is?
As a HKU alumni and senior staff member of the University Grants Committee I recall some opportunities to meet with the heads of Hong Kong Universities including Arthur Li. He is an intelligent and knowledgeable person but leaves one not comfortable in discussion. One can only conclude that his wealthy and elitist background there was no place in his mind for the common touch necessary to reach out to young intelligent students?
Is King Arthur responsible to the crisis, in one word: “disaster”?