Students 'disappointed' over NUS' suspension of freshmen orientation activities

NUS students taking part in NUS Rag and Flag day practices. The event is allowed to continue after the suspension of NUS Orientation Week.
NUS students taking part in NUS Rag and Flag day practices. The event is allowed to continue after the suspension of NUS Orientation Week.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Two student groups have issued a joint statement of concern following the National University of Singapore (NUS)'s decision to suspend all student-organised team-building activities for freshmen until further notice on Friday (July 29).

This follows complaints about inappropriate activities at NUS' orientation camps which were reported in The New Paper earlier this week, including a game forfeit which simulated a rape scene.

The statement, issued by Yale-NUS College's The G Spot and Gender Collective, an independent group at the NUS, said that the groups are "disappointed" with the latest action taken by university administration, labelling the move as a "symptomatic, not fundamental" solution to the problem.

 
 

It added that the move could negatively affect incoming freshmen's experience of varsity life, as well as the trust and relationship between students and the university administration in the future.

"We urge the administration to instead adopt a more consultative approach in partnership with students to organise and carry out orientation activities that are respectful of the dignity of all those participating.

"While it is disappointing that some students have breached the trust by carrying out unauthorised activities that flout the university's rules, we believe that it is more harmful than beneficial to our university community for the administration to adopt such an authoritarian approach," the statement said.

Over 150 people have added themselves as signatories to the statement so far. An online survey which seeks to collect individuals' experiences of NUS orientation camps has also been circulated by students since Friday evening.