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NUS investigates reports of 'sexualised' orientation activities

SINGAPORE — The National University of Singapore (NUS) is investigating reports of “offensive and completely inappropriate orientation activities” that have surfaced, following a report that freshmen were pressured to take part in “increasingly sexualised” orientation activities.

SINGAPORE — The National University of Singapore (NUS) is investigating reports of “offensive and completely inappropriate orientation activities” that have surfaced, following a report that freshmen were pressured to take part in “increasingly sexualised” orientation activities.

“We take these reports very seriously, and are carrying out thorough investigations. Strong disciplinary action will be taken against those found responsible,” said the university in a statement on Tuesday (July 26), adding that it was “very disappointed”.

This comes after a New Paper report on the sexualised activities at the NUS orientation camps in the last two months, with some students being asked inappropriate questions during a game, and having to act out a rape scene as part of the forfeit in a game.

“Orientation is intended to welcome and introduce our freshmen to the NUS community. The university expects that orientation activities are carried out in ways that are fully respectful of the dignity of all those participating, regardless of gender,” NUS said.

“We do not condone any behaviour or activity that denigrates the dignity of individuals, and that has sexual connotations,” it continued, adding that students, particularly freshmen, “must feel safe and secure at all times during orientation”. “If they decide to opt out of an activity, their wishes must be respected,” said the university.

NUS said its Office of Student Affairs (OSA) conducts sessions with the students involved in organising and leading orientation activities before the start of the orientation period at NUS. During these sessions, the OSA goes through the do’s and don’ts, which covers banned activities. Students were made aware that strong disciplinary actions will be taken against offenders.

All proposed orientation programmes and activities must be first endorsed and cleared by supervisors, such as Hall Masters and Vice Deans, as well as the OSA, added NUS. Students were asked to remove inappropriate activities.

The OSA has since met with the student leaders of the ongoing and remaining orientation camps, and briefed them on the guidelines for acceptable orientation activities, said the university. NUS staff will also be on site at these camps.

This is the latest report of overly sexual games organised at these orientation camps.

In 2014, for example, the NUS had to remind its students that all forms of ragging were unacceptable after a complaint from the aunt of a 21-year-old male undergraduate, who stated how a girl was made to “lick whip cream off his neck, his nipples and also rub her hands on his thigh”. In 2008, female students were reportedly made to lie down, while male students did push-ups over them.

The NUS said that any student with concerns about the orientation activities can contact the OSA via email at osabox15 [at] nus.edu.sg. All correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

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