According to Ron Anton, chairman of the board of trustees of the Jesuit Liberal Arts College, the Hong Kong government has told the Jesuits privately on several occasions of dates when they would issue a request for proposals, but these informal commitments have never been honored.
In January of this year, the government announced publicly that it would issue a request for proposals at the end of March, but has yet to make an announcement.
"The new government is not as keen on this," Anton
We wanted it not just to be the center for Hong Kong but to be a center for Jesuit education worldwide," said Anton, who is also a senior coordinator of Jesuit university networking at Georgetown and served as the interim secretary of higher education for the Jesuits.
doubted that the government would renege on its commitment to education entirely, he
said that it could make the land unattractive so that no group would want to, or be able to, establish a college or university there.
For example, Anton
said the government could require the winning group to build roads to the site or clean up environmental damage left over from the British military.
The government could also continue with its educational plan but require the winning institution to conform to unsavory enrollment standards.
said that the Jesuits
would be willing to build roads to the site but would not be able to afford cleaning up environmental damage and would not want to pursue a project that would require them to alter their educational model.
"We want to start small and grow gradually.
Even something like Georgetown
started small and grew gradually," Anton
"We're thinking maybe after 10 years, we would have 1,500 students.
If the government says, 'In 10 years we need 8,000 students,' then that's not going to be our model."
stressed that the failure to secure this specific parcel of land would not derail the project completely.
"We would go back to looking for other possibilities," Anton