NUS review committee proposes 'tougher sanctions' for sexual misconduct offenders

NUS review committee proposes 'tougher sanctions' for sexual misconduct offenders

File photo of National University of Singapore
File photo of the National University of Singapore (NUS). (Photo: Alif Amsyar)

SINGAPORE: Tougher penalties for sexual misconduct offences were proposed by a review committee from the National University of Singapore (NUS) after a series of such offences came to light this year.

In an email to NUS staff, alumni and students, seen by CNA, the committee said on Wednesday (May 15) it had "conducted a comprehensive review of the sanctions framework for sexual misconduct" after consulting representatives from student groups and hostels, and subject matter experts.

"There is a clear need to recalibrate the sanctions framework and toughen the penalties for sexual misconduct to serve as a strong deterrent, and to reflect the severity of the offences," it said.

READ: NUS to convene review committee after undergrad calls for 'justice' against man who filmed her in shower

TOUGHER PENALTIES

The committee proposed a new sanction, which includes a notation on an offender's transcript that will be disclosed for internships and employment. The notation, which will reflect the offender's suspension, will remain on the transcript for "a period of time" after graduation.

A minimum one calendar year suspension period from NUS for offenders has also been recommended by the committee, with expulsion from the university for "severe offences".

Offenders who are suspended or expelled can only be allowed to return to the campus after a counsellor or a medical professional has provided a certification of rehabilitation, the committee added.

With regards to a dedicated care unit for victims of sexual misconduct cases, the committee said it is currently reviewing the university's proposal.

"It will be staffed by trained and experienced care officers to support victims from the point of incident until special care is no longer required," it added.

READ: Documents reveal children were filmed in toilet multiple times by NUS voyeur

READ: NUS sexual misconduct committee pledges 'transparent, consultative process'

There will be a "wider consultation" on the changes already in place and the proposed recommendations, the committee said. 

NUS announced it was upgrading shower cubicles to make them more secure and increasing the number of guards at its hostels. There will also be new restroom locks at all hostel restroom entrances and at least 300 new cameras will be installed by the end of June. 

"To this end, we will be holding more engagement sessions with students, alumni, and experts over the next three weeks," the committee said.

"We have also commissioned an independent research consultancy to conduct an online survey to gather the views of the entire student body.

"The individual responses to this survey will be anonymous, confidential, and non-attributable, and the aggregate results will be shared with students." 

It added that the final report, which will include the final recommendations, will be published by mid-June.

The committee was formed after the university came under the spotlight for its handling of sexual misconduct cases. In April, undergraduate Monica Baey took to Instagram to call for tougher action against fellow student Nicholas Lim, who had filmed her in a hostel shower.

In a separate case, NUS student Joel Rasis Ismail was charged on Monday with one count of criminal trespass and another of insulting a woman's modesty. He is accused of filming a 23-year-old woman in a shower at a residential hall on the university's campus.

Source: CNA/aa(mi)

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