Our Policy on Equal Opportunity

THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG

Policy Statement

  1. The University is committed to creating, promoting and maintaining an environment for staff and students which provides equality of opportunity, which is free of any discrimination and harassment. It supports equal opportunity and strongly opposes discrimination/harassment. The University will take whatever action may be needed to prevent, and if necessary, discipline behaviour which violates this Policy.

Implementation

  1. A member, employee or student of the University shall not discriminate or harass any other member, employee or student of the University or any other person who has dealings with the University.
  2. The University's equal opportunity policy forbids the following discrimination/harassment in activities carried out in the course of employment, education, provision of goods and services, or other activities organised by the offices of the University. The definitions of the following terms in the relevant legislation will apply unless expressly extended as provided in paragraphs 1-14 of the Procedures for handling discrimination/harassment complaints:
    1. Sex discrimination,
    2. Sexual harassment,
    3. Disability discrimination, harassment and vilification*,
    4. Marital status discrimination,
    5. Pregnancy discrimination,
    6. Family status discrimination,
    7. Harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation, and
    8. Racial discrimination and harassment.

      (*As to the admission and employment of persons with a disability, the University has laid down specific policies in helping persons with a disability, as published in prospectuses and Staff Handbooks.)
  3. The University would not tolerate discriminatory behaviours as defined at paragraphs 1-14 of the Procedures unless the discriminatory act was an exception. The University allows certain exceptions under this policy. For example, a female hall refuses to accept a male student as a resident. This is sex discrimination but it is a kind of exception for safety and decency reasons. Yet, for harassment cases, no exceptions are provided. The Discrimination Complaints Committee will have the power to define exceptions under paragraph 15 of the Procedures.
  4. The University requires all its employees who hold supervisory positions to take all necessary steps in order to ensure that any member, employee or student of the University or any other person who has dealings with the University is not subject to discrimination/harassment.
  5. The Council of this University adopts a set of formal procedures for the investigation of discrimination/harassment complaints. The Procedures apply to all full-time or part-time staff and students in the University.
  6. Without prejudice to the right of every University member to lodge formal complaints of discrimination, the Council also recognises that very often complaints can be most effectively and speedily resolved through informal means at departmental or unit level, without the need to have recourse to formal, quasi-judicial procedures. The Council therefore requests Faculties, Departments and other units of the University to appoint, as far as possible, at least two members of staff, of both gender, as Equal Opportunity Advisers on discrimination issues. The responsibility of these Advisers would include, in liaison with the University's Equal Opportunity Unit, providing information and advice on issues of discrimination/ harassment, receiving complaints of discrimination/ harassment in confidence and, with the consent of the complainant, attempting to resolve the matter.
  7. The Vice-Chancellor may take various administrative steps, as the case might warrant, to protect any members of the University or the proper functioning of the University.
  8. Students/staff with enquiries, complaints, or requests for assistance on discrimination issues could contact a number of offices.
    1. The Equal Opportunity Unit is responsible for informing individuals regarding the University policies and procedures relating to discrimination, outlining options that may be available to them for addressing their concerns or complaints, and offering assistance to the individuals concerned in the subsequent mediation or complaint resolution processes
      (Tel: 3917 5115; E-mail:eounit@hku.hk).
    2. The Centre of Development and Resources for Students provides a wide range of support and resources for students to have a safe and diverse student life. Its Counselling and Person Enrichment section provides individual counselling, consultation and support services to students in need.
      (tel.: 3917 8388; E-mail: cedars-cope@hku.hk)
    3. Students/staff may also contact the responsible bodies such as Halls and Departments if it is appropriate.