More student voices in NUS panel to review disciplinary processes
Two more students added to review of disciplinary and support frameworks on sexual misconduct, but some question selection process
Two more students have been added to the committee set up by the National University of Singapore (NUS) to review its disciplinary and support frameworks on sexual misconduct.
Madam Kay Kuok, a member of the NUS board of trustees who is chairing the committee, revealed this in an e-mail to NUS students, staff and alumni yesterday.
"We have taken note of your request for significant student representation on the committee," she said in the e-mail, which was seen by The New Paper. "We have welcomed a junior common room committee (JCRC) member and a graduate fellow (a graduate student) to sit on the committee."
In her first note about the review since her appointment, Madam Kuok named the JCRC member as Ms Tay Pei Ling, president of King Edward VII Hall in NUS, and the graduate fellow as Ms Murni Marisa Mahat from Tembusu College.
The committee initially had only one undergrad - deputy student life secretary Richard Wang, who represents the NUS Students' Union
NUS formed the committee after third-year communications and new media student Monica Baey, 23, posted on Instagram about how a male student had filmed her in the shower at Eusoff Hall last November.
She was unhappy about the punishments meted out to the culprit, which included a year's conditional warning by the police and various sanctions by NUS such as a semester's suspension and 30 hours of supervised community service.
Her Instagram posts sparked online discussions within and outside NUS on how sexual misconduct cases are handled and whether disciplinary processes in universities are sufficient for such cases.
While students support the inclusion of more student voices, some felt the process was not transparent.
A fourth-year sociology student, who declined to be named, was one of the students who questioned the transparency of the selection process.
She said: "I wonder how the two individuals were chosen. I hope this is not token representation just to appease the student population, and the chosen representatives will have actual influence on policy-making. Still, I think it is a positive move overall."
Miss Jessie Lim, 21, a third-year political science student, said NUS had sent an e-mail on April 21 to invite interested students to apply to be part of the review committee.
She had applied to join the review because, like many of her peers, she felt a strong need to change the current culture of "lack of transparency and accountability".
"I wish there were more than three students involved and more diverse representation," said Miss Lim, while noting that NUS was hosting discussions for interested students like her to maintain engagement.
Mr Suraendher Kumarr, 24, who previously signed two joint statements against sexual harassment at NUS, said: "It is encouraging that the administration has acceded to student demands for greater representation.
"We need more transparency and accountability if NUS wants us to trust its management and decision-making processes."
Madam Kuok said the panel expects to put up its recommendations before students for consultation by the middle of this month, and she hopes to have the full recommendations out by mid-June.
It was earlier announced that the committee would share its findings when the new academic year begins in August.
She said there would be a comprehensive review of "the disciplinary framework and its application - including sanctions - on sexual misconduct, the support system for victims and the NUS' approach to safety on its campuses".
"We have committed ourselves to a transparent and consultative process that will involve engagement with the NUS community on your concerns on sexual misconduct on our campuses and the committee's proposed recommendations," she added in the e-mail.
Madam Kuok also said Professor Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a member of the Yale-NUS governing board, will be part of the committee.
The other members are: Singapore Management University president Lily Kong, law firm WongPartnership managing partner Ng Wai King, and NUS president Tan Eng Chye.
In an Instagram post yesterday, Miss Baey wrote: "In one and a half weeks, NUS has reached out to me to acknowledge that the current disciplinary system dealing with sexual misconduct cases in the university is inadequate, organised a townhall... and is now in the midst of forming a review committee with female and student representation to make changes to the existing system.
" I can't believe it, change has finally come."
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