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NUS steps up measures to tackle sexual misconduct, including faster police reporting

SINGAPORE — Following recent sexual misconduct cases, the National University of Singapore (NUS) announced that it will be stepping up measures to tackle such incidents, including speedier police reporting and putting together half-yearly reports on cases of sexual misconduct involving staff members and students.

Fresh measures to address sexual misconduct were announced by National University of Singapore's president Tan Eng Chye on Dec 17, 2020.

Fresh measures to address sexual misconduct were announced by National University of Singapore's president Tan Eng Chye on Dec 17, 2020.

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  • NUS is redoublng its efforts to handle cases of sexual misconduct on campus 
  • This comes after recent cases of such nature that involved faculty members 
  • Many of the new measures will be introduced in the coming months
  • NUS president Tan Eng Chye said the varsity is committed to create a safe and conducive campus environment

 

SINGAPORE — Following recent sexual misconduct cases, the National University of Singapore (NUS) announced that it will be stepping up measures to tackle such incidents, including speedier police reporting and putting together half-yearly reports on cases of sexual misconduct involving staff members and students.

The new measures were outlined to students, faculty members and NUS alumni in a circular issued by NUS president Tan Eng Chye on Thursday (Dec 17), a copy of which was seen by TODAY.

Some of the measures below were detailed by Professor Tan.

  1. Speedier police reporting for arrestable offences

    Prof Tan said that the university has “tightened its internal processes” to ensure that police reporting is completed no later than two weeks after the Board of Discipline or Committee of Inquiry conclude deliberations. The Board of Discipline handles cases involving students, while a Committee of Inquiry looks into cases involving staff members. 

  2. NUS will issue the community on campus a report detailing cases of sexual misconduct every six months 

    The cases in these reports will be for those involving staff members, students, or both. Prof Tan said that this “augments its ongoing effort to raise awareness of sexual misconduct among the NUS community”. However, the facts of each case will be redacted to protect the victim’s identity.

  3. Developing a common sexual misconduct policy that is applicable to all staff members and students 

    Right now, the codes of conduct for staff members and students have separate clauses dealing with sexual misconduct. Prof Tan said that the new policy “will provide for an integrated approach for managing cases of sexual misconduct in NUS”.

  4. Refresher courses for all NUS students and employees on matters of respect and consent

    Prof Tan said that the university is exploring introducing bystander training and strengthening training for staff members who are usually the first responders in cases where sexual misconduct has occurred.

  5. Renaming and expanding scope of the university’s Victim Care Unit

    ​​The Victim Care Unit, introduced last August in response to the outcry following the Monica Baey incident, will be renamed the NUS Care Unit and will extend its resources to support staff members. At the moment, the unit supports victims who are students.

  6. The NUS Code of Conduct for Staff is to be made public

    Once the disciplinary sanctions against staff members have been determined for cases of sexual misconduct or integrity offences, NUS may share details of the offence or offences with the NUS community. This would include sharing the name of the offender, on condition that the victim’s identity remains confidential. This change is in response to a suggestion by the NUS Students’ Union.

All the measures, including those above, will take effect in the coming months.

The move by the university comes after recent cases of sexual misconduct involving faculty members that made headlines.

Most recently, the university sacked political science professor Theodore G Hopf earlier this month for sexually harassing an NUS student.

In October, the university fired Tembusu College lecturer Jeremy Fernando after investigations found that he had acted “inappropriately” as a teaching staff member.

Prof Tan said in the email that students and staff members can be assured that “no efforts will be spared on our part to ensure a safe and conducive campus environment”.

Making reference to the recent cases involving faculty members, Prof Tan stressed: “Regardless of whether these incidents took place on or off campus, such behaviour threatens the safety and well-being of our NUS community.”

“The sad truth is that no matter how hard we try, sexual misconduct cannot be completely eradicated. Yet we must be unrelenting in our desire and effort to tackle the issue head-on... Our approach has to be holistic, just, transparent and sensitive.” 

Related topics

NUS sexual misconduct Monica Baey voyeurism police

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