Members of a university student union who organized protest-related activities last year, including a memorial for a student who fell to his death near a demonstration site, have been issued community service orders and school suspensions.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) wrote on Facebook Sunday that the school’s Academic Registry informed the union that the disciplinary actions were in view of “several cases of misconduct.”

As per the school’s decision, student union members have been handed 75-hour community service orders and will be barred from using campus facilities for half a year.

The student union’s president and internal vice-president will also be suspended for one semester, starting the coming term that begins February.

“The union expresses deep regret towards the sanctions,” the UST student union wrote. “The union has always upheld a student-first belief in speaking out against injustices… so the school’s heavy punishment is extremely unreasonable.”

According to the school’s email to the union, the “misconduct” included the holding of a six-month memorial marking the death of student Alex Chow, who fell to his death from a Tseung Kwan O carpark during a police operation, and a slogan-writing activity last June during which union members painted the phrase “Hope lies in the people; change starts with resistance” on a university street.

A spokesperson from the university’s Public Affairs Office said that the school has regulations regarding student activities and use of campus facilities, and that the dean can transfer cases to a disciplinary board if there is failure to comply with rules despite repeated warnings.

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