Students at Hong Kong's most prestigious university say its academic freedom is under attack in what they maintain is the politically motivated stalling of the appointment of an administrator who supported last year's pro-democracy protests.

In their most confrontational demonstration on campus, about 100 students of the University of Hong Kong stormed a conference room where school leaders were deliberating late Tuesday on the status of former law school dean Johannes Chan, whose appointment to pro-vice chancellor has been stalled for months.

University President Peter Mathieson put forth Chan for the post last December but the university's governing body, which includes several loyalists to China's central government, has so far blocked his appointment.

The law school's research record under Chan also has come under attack from a Communist Party-controlled newspaper.