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Student backlash prompts McMaster University to remove Hong Kong Police Force job postings

McMaster University removed two job postings for positions with the Hong Kong Police Force advertised to students after complaints the advertisements made the school complicit with police brutality in China during a violent crackdown on street protests.

On May 7, a student group called McMaster Stands with Hong Kong complained to the institution and on social media about the job listings, accusing the university of aiding HKPF’s recruitment.

The two advertised HKFP positions were “probationary inspector” and  “program outreach.”

“McMaster University, by doing this, enabled the human rights violations in Hong Kong,” said a spokesperson for McMaster Stands with Hong Kong.

“They are actively making the situation worse if they are helping facilitate the recruitment for the Hong Kong Police Force.”

A screenshot shows the two job listings, one to join the Hong Kong Police Force as a program outreach and another to join as a probationary inspector. (Submitted by McMaster Stands with Hong Kong)

The Hong Kong police force has been condemned for its treatment of demonstrators against a controversial extradition bill that would allow detainees to be transferred to mainland China. 

Police have fired live ammunition at protestors and used tear gas.

The extradition bill was later withdrawn in September 2019, although protests continued for several months. Protesters demanded voting rights and an independent inquiry into police conduct.

“The university removed the posting shortly after it appeared,” read a statement from McMaster University to CBC News.

Student group left with questions

The student group wonders what the criteria is to have a job listed on the website.

“The message they originally sent to the student body was … they don’t really care where McMaster graduates go off to work and they’re just happy to throw us anywhere,” the spokesperson said.

The school’s statement noted the university “reviews postings regularly and makes determinations at its discretion based on a wide range of factors that may impact student employment.”

The student group says McMaster University should have released a public statement about the incident.

“The lack of a statement is a little shady because they did it very quietly as if they didn’t want to draw any attention to it … it makes it unclear as to what their intentions are and if they plan on putting it back up later when we’re not looking,” the spokesperson said.

“But the most important thing here is they did take it down which means they did take our concerns seriously.”

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