NUS student Monica Baey hopes for case to be re-opened, glad for support received
SINGAPORE — Glad for the groundswell of support after she posted her case on social media, National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate Monica Baey — who was filmed by a fellow student while she was taking a shower in the hostel — said she hopes to have the matter reopened.
SINGAPORE — Glad for the groundswell of support after she posted her case on social media, National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate Monica Baey — who was filmed by a fellow student while she was taking a shower in the hostel — is hoping to have the matter reopened.
She also hopes that the university will relook its disciplinary and support frameworks for cases of sexual misconduct.
“My first goal is to get NUS to acknowledge that more things can be done to deal with such misconduct, relook its policies, and possibly reopen my case,” the 23-year-old communications and new media undergraduate told TODAY over the phone from Taiwan, where she is on an exchange programme.
“Numerous” people have written to her in recent days about their sexual harassment encounters in educational institutions, she said on Monday (April 22).
“There have been so many other cases, and this is really signalling a larger issue at hand,” she said.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung is among those who have weighed in on the issue, saying on Monday that the penalties meted out by NUS were “manifestly inadequate”. He has also asked all universities here to review their frameworks when handling cases of sexual misconduct.
However, along with words of support, Ms Baey has also received negative messages from those accusing her of seeking attention, trying to take the law into her own hands and attempting to “ruin” the offender.
She has not let the negative messages bother her because “it’s difficult to fully explain my side to them”, she said.
Thousands of people have also lent support through online petitions. Two petitions on Change.org have amassed more than 41,000 signatures as of 10pm on Monday.
One calling for stiffer punishment for the offender, Mr Nicholas Lim, has garnered more than 30,000 supporters, while another asking the police to reopen the case has 11,000.
“Ultimately, it’s not my place to say what punishment perpetrators should receive, but I want to show that this is a serious issue that should be looked into,” Ms Baey said.
NUS announced on Monday that it would be holding an internal town-hall session “to gather feedback and concerns about sexual misconduct on campus and to discuss how the university can further strengthen its disciplinary and support frameworks”.
In an email sent to NUS students that was seen by TODAY, dean of student affairs Peter Pang said that the university would also inform attendees about the “investigation and disciplinary procedures, and the sanctions framework for sexual misconduct”.
Ms Baey said that she hopes the town hall on Thursday “will truly address concerns of the student body that we’ve put forth”.
DEPARTMENT SHOWS SUPPORT
On Monday, the Department of Communications and New Media from NUS also sent out an email to its students in support of Ms Baey.
Department head Audrey Yue said that it has “zero tolerance for sexual misconduct”.
“We support all students who are impacted by sexual and gender-based violence, and will empower them to access the resources they need. We are committed to the fight against gender-based violence,” she added.
“We will take an active role to assist NUS and (the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to) develop a university-wide approach to sexual violence intervention, including a comprehensive strategy that equips students, faculty and staff with the awareness, knowledge and skills required to make social change towards ending sexual violence.”
MORE STUDENTS JOIN IN
The decision to hold a town hall comes after NUS announced over the weekend that it will convene a committee to “review discipline and support frameworks”.
On Sunday, almost 500 students put up a statement addressed to NUS’ senior management, calling on the university to take a “stronger stance against sexual harassment and set a positive example for other universities around the world”.
Separately, four NUS student organisations issued a joint statement of concern on Monday, calling for even more action from Associate Professor Pang.
“While we commend his unequivocal statement that NUS does not tolerate sexual misconduct, more needs to be done to demonstrate the university's commitment to a safe NUS community,” said the statement by interest groups from the College of Alice and Peter Tan, University Scholars’ Programme, Yale-NUS College and Tembusu College.
In addition to holding a town hall, the groups urged NUS to “increase student representation and ensure sufficient female representation on the review committee”. In an internal circular, Assoc Prof Pang had earlier said that there will be two student representatives in the committee.
In an update on Monday evening, NUS board of trustees’ chairman Hsieh Fu Hua announced the initial members of the committee.
It will be chaired by Madam Kay Kuok, a member of the board, and includes a representative from the NUS Students’ Union.