UM: congregation incident regrettable

On 21 June, the University of Macau (UM) held its annual congregation. During the congregation, an unexpected incident happened, which compromised the solemn atmosphere of the ceremony and disrupted the order at the event venue. Afterwards, UM inquired about the details of the incident with the relevant departments, and actively reviewed the way in which the incident was handled. It was a regrettable incident and UM feels very sorry for those who were affected in the process. UM reiterates its respect for academic freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. It will review what happened in order to improve arrangements about future congregations. After the incident, UM's top management met with colleagues from the relevant departments to inquire about the details of what happened. UM representatives have also met with representatives from the Graduation Committee, Students' Union, student organisations from various faculties, Postgraduate Association, student publications, various alumni associations, UM Faculty Association, and other representatives, to discuss the incident and listen to suggestions. As UM learned, below are the details of what happened: Before the congregation began, a student carrying a banner entered the event venue. Before the ceremony began, some working staff and some of the student's teachers repeatedly advised her to hand over the banner to UM staff for safekeeping so that the banner would not cause herself inconvenience when the time came for her to get on the stage to receive the graduation certificate. The staff and teachers also told the student that the banner would be returned to her after the congregation was over, but the student refused to follow the advice. After all the students entered the event venue, most of the journalists followed UM's working staff's directions to an area to get ready to take pictures of the procession, except for several journalists. These journalists remained in the aisle on the left side of the stage. As that area served as a passage for off-stage guests and working staff, UM staff requested them not to stay there. In response, these journalists followed UM staff's directions to another area to cover the ceremony. However, two journalists refused to leave. After the working staff's repeated attempts to reason with them, the two journalists, including the journalist from Macau Concealers, stood back a little towards the wall. After the congregation began, everyone present stood up solemnly to welcome the procession. When the procession was just about to end and before the National Anthem started, the student suddenly held up the banner, and upon seeing this, the journalist from Macau Concealers not only immediately went back to the area which the working staff had repeatedly requested him to leave, but also moved to the front of the stage and started taking pictures in a spot between the band and the guests sitting in the first row. One working staff member went over to him to try to reason with him, but was ignored. When the working staff member tried to move him back to the original area, he started shouting. At the same time, the working staff tried to make the student put down the banner, but she also started shouting. As it all happened so suddenly, the journalists who had been covering the ceremony in the original area then rushed over to take pictures of the incident. At this point, the situation got more chaotic. To make sure that the ceremony could proceed in a smooth manner, the working staff and security staff had no choice but to make the two leave the event venue, in hopes of restoring order as soon as possible. It was unfortunate that there was some pushing and jostling in the process. Outside the event venue, the student was still very emotional and kept shouting, "Where is my friend? What did you do to him?" In view of this, one female working staff member walked over to her to hug her and kept comforting her. Later the student gave interviews to the media, and returned to the event venue to continue to participate in the congregation and went on the stage to receive the graduation certificate. The journalist from Macau Concealers also gave interviews to the media. The other journalists went back to covering the congregation. The congregation is a joyous occasion for the students, their family member and friends to celebrate the fruit of four years of hard work. It is also the university's most solemn and grand event. Therefore, it is important to make sure that all the students, their family members, and friends can enjoy their right to experience a solemn and orderly congregation. The moment when everyone stands up to welcome the procession consisting of VIPs and teachers and before the National Anthem is about to start is the most solemn moment at the congregation that should be respected. It is deeply regrettable that this unfortunate incident happened at this most solemn moment. UM apologises to all those who were affected in the process. UM stresses that it always respects academic freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. It firmly believes that anyone has the right to express his or her personal opinions, but in doing so one must respect others and respect the occasion. It was an unfortunate incident, and UM will humbly learn from it. UM will review what happened and humbly listen to criticisms and suggestions in order to improve arrangements about future congregations.

Is there anything wrong with this page?

Help us improve GOV.MO

* Mandatory field


All information on this site is based on the official language of the Macao Special Administrative Region. The English version is the translation from the Chinese originals and is provided for reference only. If you find that some of the contents do not have an English version, please refer to the Traditional Chinese or Portuguese versions.