NUS students welcome recommendations from review committee
They can be an example for other institutions to get serious about sexual misconduct on campuses, says one of them
Students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) welcomed the recommendations by the NUS review committee on sexual misconduct.
Mr Wayne Wee, a second-year student who started an online petition to demand stiffer punishment for the male offender in the Monica Baey incident, said he was impressed with the recommendations' breadth and specificity.
Said Mr Wee, 25: "The recommendations, if implemented, would provide an all-encompassing approach to dealing with similar cases. It would serve as an example for other institutions in Singapore to get serious about sexual crimes on their campuses."
The recommendations include a discretion clause, where the NUS provost can decide if a complaint or allegation goes to the Board of Discipline, where there are mandatory sanctions, or to heads of the relevant academic or non-academic units to mete out other sanctions.
'CLIMATE OF FEAR'
On this, Mr Wee said: "I think it is necessary to distinguish between offences of different degrees.
"Not offering this option for less severe cases might create a climate of fear and prompt a backlash towards the new measures."
A first-year female student from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, who declined to named, agreed the discretion clause was good but was sceptical about the recommendation to launch a new compulsory module for students and staff on Respect and Consent Culture starting in the 2019/2020 academic year.
"I don't think the module will be of much help.
"Students tend to have a set prejudice against anything compulsory and may not treat the module as something to learn from," she said.
Mr Richard Wang, 24, deputy student life secretary in the NUS Students' Union, as well as member of the review committee, said the recommendations are the start of more open, ongoing exchange and engagement between the university administration and students.
"We have recommended another review be conducted in two years' time and that the university continues to engage its students and other stakeholders on important issues, including this," he added.
He also highlighted the new sanction of the transcript notation, saying: "We saw it as a sanction in a number of leading global institutions, and we recommend that it remains on the offenders' transcripts for three years after graduation."
Ms Corinna Lim, executive director of the Association of Women for Action and Research, said: "What NUS has announced is a great step forward to tackle the problem.
"Moving onwards, we hope that the university will have a comprehensive policy on harassment and violence that extends to staff and faculty, not only its student body."
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ADELINE TAN