'We fell short': NUS president apologises to alumni over handling of sexual misconduct case

'We fell short': NUS president apologises to alumni over handling of sexual misconduct case

NUS president tan eng chye
Professor Tan Eng Chye is the president of the National University of Singapore. (Photo: NUS)

SINGAPORE: The president of the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Tuesday (Apr 23) apologised to the school's alumni for the way a sexual misconduct case was handled, after the victim took to social media to call for tougher action against a fellow student who had filmed her having a shower.

This comes after NUS undergraduate Ms Monica Baey revealed in a series of public Instagram Stories on Friday that she had caught a fellow 23-year-old student filming her in the hostel shower with a mobile phone in November last year. The man was given a 12-month conditional warning by police.

READ: NUS voyeur given conditional warning as he was 'assessed to have high likelihood of rehabilitation'

Ms Baey's Instagram Stories were viewed thousands of times and triggered the spread of at least two online petitions, one of which had garnered more than 33,000 signatures demanding "stiffer punishment" for the accused.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has also weighed in on the issue, calling the penalties applied by NUS on the perpetrator "manifestly inadequate".

"We are sorry that she had to surface her concerns on social media for the University to take notice," NUS president Tan Eng Chye said in his letter.

"We fell short in providing her support from the start, and we apologise. We hope to set things right," he said.

READ: NUS Students’ Union to consider if ‘heavier punishments’ are needed for sex harassment cases

Prof Tan added that NUS "does not condone nor tolerate any form of sexual misconduct" on its campuses, and that it will take a "hard stand on unacceptable behaviour" to keep its students safe.

On Saturday, NUS said it would convene a committee to review its current disciplinary and support frameworks.

In her Instagram Stories, Ms Baey said that when told the accused was getting a warning, she tried to appeal for a heavier sentence but was told by an investigation officer that she "just (had) to accept the outcome" or "go to NUS and push for action".

READ: Commentary: University campuses must be safe places for all

After a disciplinary process by NUS, her perpetrator was suspended from the university for one semester and banned from entering all on-campus housing premises. He was also ordered to go for mandatory counselling sessions, perform 30 hours of community service and write a letter of apology.

Earlier on Tuesday, the police said that the culprit was given a 12-month conditional warning because he had been assessed to have a high likelihood of rehabilitation and was remorseful.

Source: CNA/aa(aj)

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