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LCQ 17: Fund-raising activities by universities

    Following is a question by Dr the Hon Kwok Ka-ki and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (March 1):


     Regarding fund-raising campaigns organised by tertiary institutions and their reciprocating their donors, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(a) in respect of the past three years, the names, duties, terms of office and conditions of employment (including the amounts of salaries and allowances) of senior advisers, Vice-chancellor's advisers, public relations staff or external/publicity affairs staff responsible for promoting a philanthropic culture and organising fund-raising activities in various tertiary institutions, and the details of the expenditure of various institutions on promoting and publicising fund-raising activities;

(b) the names of persons or organisations that have made donations to various tertiary institutions over the past three years, the amounts of donations and the ways to acknowledge the donors, broken down by institution, and the mechanism and criteria adopted by various institutions for determining the ways to acknowledge the donations;

(c) the mechanism used by the University Grants Committee ("UGC") to monitor the fund-raising strategies of various institutions, the practise of naming institutions, subsidiary faculties and departments, professorships, research institutes, research funds and buildings after the relevant benefactors, and the actual uses of the donations, and whether UGC has assessed if the naming practise is legal and in the public interest; and

(d) as the naming of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong ("HKU") has aroused public debate, whether UGC will urge the senior management of HKU, including the Vice-chancellor, his special advisers and deans of faculties, to enhance accountability, respond to the voices of opposition in the community and explain its naming mechanism publicly, and whether UGC will study and formulate a set of comprehensive mechanism, guidelines, procedures and principles for raising funds, with a view to addressing the issues surrounding the naming of HKU's Faculty of Medicine and assisting various institutions in promoting a philanthropic culture?


Madam President,

(a) All institutions funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC) are autonomous statutory bodies governed by their respective ordinances and councils.  They enjoy considerable autonomy in the management of their internal affairs and finance, including soliciting and accepting donations.  As all UGC-funded institutions are free to deploy their staff and other resources for carrying out fund-raising activities, the Administration and the UGC do not have such information about the manpower involved and expenditure by item incurred by individual institutions for these activities.

(b) Based on the annual accounts of the UGC-funded institutions, the amount of donations received by institutions in the past three years are set out in Annex I.

     All UGC-funded institutions have established their own internal guidelines for handling donations. Annex II is a note on Common Practise Adopted by UGC-funded institutions in Accepting Donations issued by the UGC Secretariat to the Finance Committee in July 2005 for reference.

(c) and (d) As explained above, all UGC-funded institutions are autonomous in soliciting, accepting and using donations. As a good management practise and to protect their reputation and academic freedom, each institution has its own internal guidelines and procedures. Before accepting donations, institutions will consider carefully the donor¡¦s wish and the purpose of the donation, to ensure that they are in line with the role and mission of the institutions concerned. Regarding naming arrangements, institutions will generally consider a number of factors, such as the impact of such naming arrangements on the institutions or faculty concerned; the donor¡¦s contributions to the institution, the education sector as a whole or the community at large, etc. in considering whether or not to name facilities or faculties after the benefactor.

     Given that each institution has drawn up its own rules and procedures for handling donations, and in line with the spirit of upholding institutional autonomy, the Administration and the UGC fully respect the autonomy of tertiary institutions in their internal management, and will not seek to interfere with the internal affairs of individual institutions. Except in the case of the Matching Grant Scheme for which the UGC has set out the rules and principles for matching of private donations, neither the Administration nor the UGC consider it necessary to stipulate any rules or guidelines on the handling of donations that the institutions must follow. Nonetheless, the Administration welcomes institutions to explain their guidelines and procedures in handling donations so as to increase transparency and to enhance the general public's understanding of the fund-raising mechanisms of our institutions.

Ends/Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Issued at HKT 15:05