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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Local freshmen to share HKU dorms with mainland students

Local freshmen to share HKU dorms with mainland students

The University of Hong Kong will pair local freshmen with non-local - including mainland - students in dormitories from September, hoping to "promote integration and cultural exchanges" between hallmates.
After their first year in the hall, students will have to find their own roommates.

The new policy has been announced on HKU's Centre of Development and Resources for Students website.

"We have confirmed the adoption of a new policy aimed at promoting integration and cultural exchanges among hallmates," the university stated. "Beginning in the academic year 2023-24, the general offices of the residential halls will assign roommates for newly admitted residents in double or triple rooms, pairing local and non-local students whenever possible."

A local student studying journalism at HKU, Hung Yee-ning, said he doesn't think the new policy would be a problem.

"Most HKU students get along with non-local students pretty well," Hung said. "Sometimes there is a lack of support for non-local students in the halls, so the new policy would ease that issue."

But he said students should find their roommates themselves, instead of having CEDARS interfere: "Dorms are for the students to manage and allocate resources themselves. The interference of CEDARS could be seen as another sign that HKU officials are trying to take over students' sovereignty in community decisions."

A medical school student, Yip, believed the new policy could cause problems due to the different political views and cultural differences between local and non-local students, adding that the policy could also lead to a more fierce competition for hall places among local students.

"Students may disagree with each other in terms of socio-political perspectives," Yip said. "When quarrels occur, they could easily label each other as being 'racist.' This can deprive the students' right to uphold individual perspectives concerning politics."

She also said locals and non-locals have varying lifestyles: "Different ethnic groups have differences in their religious views and lifestyles. Conflicts are bound to occur."

A university spokesman said HKU is a world-class university which upholds equality, diversity and cultural integration and students should adopt an open attitude and cherish opportunities to interact with their non-local counterparts.

He also said the arrangement was decided after thorough discussions with the halls committee consisting of student representatives.

In reply to The Standard, the Chinese University said currently, students choose their roommates and apply to live in double or triple rooms, but colleges encourage local and non-local students to share a dorm so they can socialize with each other. At the same time, non-local students can better understand - as well as integrate into - local life.

Baptist University said students currently can indicate their roommate preferences when applying for a hall place. The halls will make relevant arrangements according to their residential policies and availability of rooms.

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