Students call for comprehensive sexuality education in the wake of risque varsity games

Student orientation groups conducting activities at the University Town at National University of Singapore on June 27, 2016.
Student orientation groups conducting activities at the University Town at National University of Singapore on June 27, 2016.ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH

SINGAPORE - In the wake of the brouhaha over risque varsity orientation activities for freshmen, including those at the National University of Singapore (NUS), student advocacy groups have called for more comprehensive sexuality education for students before they begin their tertiary education.

The groups - The G Spot, based in Yale-NUS College, and The Gender Collective, based in NUS' University Scholars Programme - emphasised in a joint statement on Tuesday (Aug 2) the need to educate young people about consensual sex.

They added that the issues of sexualised activities during orientation week extended beyond NUS to other universities and institutions of higher learning as well.

The groups were responding to NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan's statement on Monday (Aug 1) after NUS suspended on Friday (July 29) all student-organised orientation activities.

 
 
 
 

These activities were put on hold after it was reported that some students had complained about being pressured into taking part in risque orientation activities. The activities included the alleged re-enactment of an incestuous rape scene and a dunking incident involving Sheares Hall hostel students.

At a Freshmen Inauguration Ceremony on Monday, Professor Tan called for a "time-out" to investigate the alleged incidents further, adding that the university did not condone "activities that denigrate the dignity of individuals and that are sexualised".

He also assured that NUS does not intend to do away with orientation.

On Tuesday, the student advocacy groups also called for more dialogue and partnership between NUS and its students. The groups recommended setting up an independent task force comprising university administrators, NUS Students' Union representatives, independent student representatives and experts to study and implement measures towards creating a more inclusive and respectful campus.

The groups' joint statement said: "Beyond carrying out the necessary investigations and meting out punishments to those responsible for the 'reprehensible acts', it is crucial that young people have access to comprehensive sexuality education so that they can make better and more informed choices."