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NUS files police report against sacked Tembusu College lecturer accused of sexual misconduct

SINGAPORE — The National University of Singapore (NUS) on Wednesday (Oct 21) lodged a police report against former Tembusu College lecturer Jeremy Fernando following allegations of sexual misconduct made by two students.

In its statement on Wednesday, the university provided more details about the case, including that the lecturer was sacked after NUS’ internal investigations last month found him to have had an “intimate association” with an undergraduate.

In its statement on Wednesday, the university provided more details about the case, including that the lecturer was sacked after NUS’ internal investigations last month found him to have had an “intimate association” with an undergraduate.

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  • The report was filed after the two students who made the allegations decided not to go to the police
  • NUS’ investigations found Dr Fernando to have had an “intimate association” with a student
  • The first complaint was made on Aug 27, and Dr Fenando was suspended four days later
  • NUS acknowledged it could have shared information about the case sooner

 

SINGAPORE — The National University of Singapore (NUS) on Wednesday (Oct 21) lodged a police report against former Tembusu College lecturer Jeremy Fernando following allegations of sexual misconduct made by two students.

The report was made “given the seriousness of the allegations”, the university said, after the two students who complained about Dr Fernando to the university decided not to go to the police.

NUS said on Sunday that it had fired Dr Fernando for behaving “inappropriately” as a teaching staff and having “fallen short of the standards of professionalism that the university expects of a teaching staff”.

This comes days after a student-run group from NUS called on the university to clarify exactly what had happened that led to the sacking of Dr Fernando, who was accused of sexual misconduct.

In its statement on Wednesday, the university provided more details about the case and gave a timeline of how the events unfolded.

NUS said it sacked the lecturer after its internal investigations last month found him to have had an “intimate association” with one of the two undergraduates who lodged complaints against him.

“As this is a serious breach of the University’s Code of Conduct for Staff, the university acted swiftly to dismiss him,” NUS said.

Under the Code of Conduct, staff must not engage in an “intimate relationship” with a student and must ensure that they do not place themselves in a position of conflict of interest.

NUS said it had first received a complaint from a student on Aug 27, and suspended Dr Fernando on Aug 31. He was also prohibited from contacting students while the university commenced investigations.

When Tembusu College found out about the incident, the college took immediate action to protect the students and worked with the university’s Victim Care Unit to facilitate a “fair and prompt investigation”.

“As one of the students was formerly a student at Tembusu College, two of the college’s directors have been providing direct additional support to her, and are continuing to be in touch with her,” NUS said.

It added that the college took “prompt action” to ensure that there was no disruption to students’ learning following Dr Fernando’s dismissal.

NUS acknowledged, however, that it could have communicated better with students about the dismissal.

“In this instance, the university has to balance interests of privacy and confidentiality, particularly for the victims involved,” it said.

“We recognise that we could have shared information about the dismissal with Tembusu staff and students in a more timely manner and we endeavour to do better.”

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

NUS said it had first received a complaint about Dr Fernando from a student on Aug 27.

On Aug 31, Dr Fernando was suspended from duty and prohibited from contacting any student or staff from the university.

The student was interviewed that day and an officer from NUS’ Victim Care Unit offered to accompany her to make a police report but she declined.

The unit was set up last year to help students who have encountered some form of sexual misconduct, after the issue became a topic of national discussion when NUS undergraduate Monica Baey’s social media posts about being filmed while showering went viral.

NUS’ internal investigation of the first complaint was completed on Sept 5.

Two days later, on Sept 7, the university received its second complaint from a student about Dr Fernando. The second student likewise declined to make a police report.

On Sept 21, the university completed its investigation of the second complaint and informed Dr Fernando that he had seven working days to respond with additional information about the case.

Dr Fernando responded to the university on Sept 30. On Oct 7, he was sacked.

Since Dr Fernando’s dismissal, a group of student leaders at Tembusu College have started a community support working group to facilitate discussions within the college.

NUS has also made the Code of Conduct for staff available online, following a request from the students’ union.

“All allegations of misconduct are taken seriously, and the university stands firmly against all forms of inappropriate behaviour,” NUS said.

“We will continue to remind our staff to uphold high standards of professional and personal conduct.”

 

Source: NUS

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