SINGAPORE: Singapore Management University (SMU) has strengthened its ground patrols, increased the number of CCTV monitors outside toilets and showers, and installed signs "warning of trespass" into such facilities in a bid to boost campus security.
The moves aim to "maximise deterrence and improve overall campus security", the university announced on Thursday (Oct 3).
In April, SMU said it was reviewing its disciplinary framework as part of steps to better protect students from sexual misconduct and harassment on campus.
In light of feedback and recommendations from this process, the university on Thursday announced it would augment its SMU Code of Student Conduct to "highlight the university behavioural expectations" and reinforce the "responsibilities of student citizenship".
The SMU Disciplinary Procedure has also been revised to "lend more clarity to the scope and reach of the rules", including definitions of academic and non-academic conduct, categories of violations, types of sanctions and matters relating to disciplinary proceedings and appeals.
The university has also set up a student support unit called Voices@SMU to act as a first-response unit for harassment or sexual misconduct cases.
"The unit is supported by a team of trained staff who will provide students with the necessary assistance, as well as explain and explore reporting and support options regarding their cases," the university said.
An online education module on consent and respect has also been developed with the aim of helping students "recognise the role they can play in supporting a culture of safety and respect on campus".
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT SANCTIONS
The revised SMU Disciplinary Code and Procedure details sanctions for minor and major violations, as well as additional sanctions for cases of sexual misconduct.
In cases of sexual misconduct, which are classified as major violations, sanctions include restriction of contact with a named person as well as residential suspension and eviction from university accommodation.
The offence could also be recorded on the student’s unofficial transcript, academic summary and academic transcript for a maximum period of three years following the offender's graduation or after leaving the university.
The student could also be suspended or expelled, have their academic degree deferred for a set period of time and also be removed from leadership positions or involvement in student activities.
FINES OF UP TO S$10,000 FOR MAJOR VIOLATIONS
The revised disciplinary code also laid out the following sanctions for major violations.
The student could be fined up to S$10,000 for a major violation. They could also be made to do community service, be restricted from contacting a named person, suspended or expelled.
The student could also be issued with a written reprimand entered into their internal university record, required to make restitution or to seek rehabilitative treatment and given disciplinary probation, among other sanctions.
For minor violations, the student can be fined up to S$1,000, be given a written warning and be required to provide a written undertaking not to repeat the violation.
Sanctions aimed at "achieving restorative justice", such as a letter of apology, can also be issued.
A written reprimand could also be entered into the student's internal university record, and he or she can be ordered to do community service of up to 50 hours.
Other sanctions include the withdrawal of university privileges, benefits and rights and academic penalties, among others.
When imposing any of the sanctions, all "relevant factors" will be taken into account, such as the mental health or medical history of the accused, the harm caused by the student and any previous records or sanctions imposed.
Any demonstration of remorse and relevant mitigating circumstances will also be considered.
"As a university, SMU is committed to ensuring respect and dignity of all in our community as well as providing a safe and supportive environment on campus," said SMU Provost Professor Timothy Clark in the university's statement.
"We encourage and expect high standards of conduct from everyone within the SMU community."
Earlier this year, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament there were six disciplinary cases involving sexual misconduct by SMU students in the academic years of 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Across the six autonomous universities, there were 56 disciplinary cases involving sexual misconduct by students in that period.