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Officials and other HKU Council members urged students and other stakeholders to engage in rational discussions with the school's top governing body - following chaotic student protests after Tuesday's

council meeting.

Law lecturer and council member Eric Cheung Tat-ming attempted to mediate with students during Tuesday's standoff. He said the students were acting inappropriately and immaturely. But he also noted that radicalism was gaining ground in university campuses elsewhere.

He said the priority must be to restore trust among the different stakeholders through proper guidance. "I don't hope to see such actions spreading further, but condemnation is unhelpful," he said.

Timothy O'Leary, head of the humanities school and a council member, urged students to exercise patience and trust in the council's work. He added that all members of the HKU community needed to ensure future meetings could be conducted in a calm, open and respectful manner.

O'Leary noted that a "breakdown of communication" was a cause of the chaos. But he said the council had launched a review of the confidentiality code to address calls for greater transparency.

HKU alumna and Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday said she was saddened by the actions of the students, saying they had clearly crossed a line.

Lam also urged the different stakeholders to express their concerns about governance to the HKU Council in a rational manner.

Lau Nai-keung, a Basic Law advisor to the National People's Congress Standing Committee, used to be an active student leader at HKU.

He said the students should not be blamed for their immaturity. But Lau said he was saddened that during discussions, the students had shown little signs of independent thinking. Instead, their views were heavily influenced by "nonsense" promoted by political parties seeking to exploit the situation.

(HK Edition 01/29/2016 page7)