Canadian universities face student backlash over Hong Kong police job ads
Job postings for the Hong Kong Police Force have appeared on student job boards of three Canadian universities, according to pro-democracy student groups who have tried to get the postings removed.
Hogan Lam, an active member of the University of Toronto Hong Kong Extradition Law Awareness Group, said the job posting “doesn’t make sense” as according to the requirements, HKPF is trying to recruit Hong Kong students like him.
Lam said the group learnt about the job posting last Thursday and released a statement on May 9 to urge U of T’s Career & Co-Curricular Learning Network (CLNx) to remove this job posting. He said the group also sent a complaint to the career centre.
“I feel like U of T should remove the job posting…That’s kind of like supporting [HKPF] by letting them recruit students from U of T.”
“It reflects how [U of T]’s graduates are going to end up in the future and it is closely related to the school’s reputation,” he said.
‘Governed by guidelines’
In an email response to the group on May 14, CLNx said job postings on the website are “governed by federal and provincial guidelines and U of T policies” and all employers are welcome “as long as their practices do not contradict these guidelines and policies.”
However, the email did not mention whether the job posting would be removed.
Lam said this response is unacceptable and the group would continue to put pressure on the university until the job postings related to HKPF are removed.
Apart from U of T, job postings also appeared on job boards in two other Canadian universities – the University of British Columbia and McMaster University.
The Enlightenment of HK, a UBC student group founded by pro-democracy Hong Kong students, has called for removal of HKPF recruitment posts.
In an open letter to UBC’s Centre for Student Involvement & Careers, the student group said the university should “stand in opposition of a police force that has trampled the rights and dignity of Hongkongers for months.”
“Recognising that a part of UBC’s purpose is to advance a just society, not only in Canada, but in the world, we call for the university to continue upholding its core values of integrity, respect, and accountability by rejecting any connection to the Hong Kong Police Force.”
A statement from UBC said as the job posting is a position for a probationary inspector, it would be “removed in accordance with our standard practices,” and “postings are up for a set period of time and then they are removed.”
UBC also told HKFP that the school allows students to make career decisions independently and determine whether job opportunities are “aligned with their interests and values.”
CBC News also received a similar statement from U of T but the university did not say if the posting would be removed.
Whilst both job postings on job boards at U of T and UBC were still available as of May 15, two job postings for HKPF were removed by McMaster University.
A spokesperson from McMaster Stands with Hong Kong said they learned about the removal by double-checking the status of the job posting the day after they had emailed the school.
“We would never have known about the removal if we didn’t actively go back to check it,” she said. “It would be great if the school could inform us.”
The spokesperson did not wish to disclose her full name due to past conflict with pro-Beijing students on campus — an attempt to damage a pop-up Lennon Wall and remove students’ face masks back in October 2019, according to a previous report by the Silhouette, McMaster University’s student-run newspaper.
She said now that the two postings are gone, the student group is more worried about the school’s future collaboration on recruitment for the Hong Kong Government, and job postings for HKPF that are still available at U of T and UBC.
“A lot of us dislike the police because of the ongoing police brutality in Hong Kong,” she said. “If any schools decide to help with recruitment for HKPF in the future, we will try our best to advocate for Hong Kong and tell Canadian students why this is unacceptable.”
In an email reply to HKFP’s enquiry, the police wrote that reaching out to university graduates both locally and overseas has always been one of the proactive recruitment strategies. “Every year, Recruitment Division of the Force would conduct recruitment publicity via different platforms, social media and recruitment projects…” it read.