Criticism of NUS management is not fair

Over the years, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) in the National University of Singapore (NUS) has taken many measures to manage freshmen orientation programmes.

In response to the 2016 saga, the OSA clamped down on all activities and introduced many measures to better manage such orientation programmes (At least 14 NUS undergrads disciplined over risque orientation games; Sept 23, 2016).

Thus, recent letters indicating that this problem has become worse may not be fair to the university (Make NUS management answer for improper activities, by Ms Jessie Loy Sze Nah; Poor enforcement from top has allowed actions to continue, by Dr Lim Boon Hee, both published on June 23).

As an NUS student, I believe that the management is doing their best.

The issue has nothing to do with the culture of the university. By this logic, one can argue it might even be the "culture" of that particular student's family, and the parents should be held accountable.

I, too, do not think such behaviour is acceptable. However, to blame it on the management for not doing its job is unfair to the staff who have been working tirelessly on freshmen orientation programmes.

Dr Lee also suggested that these students should be expelled or face the full force of the law. Many of us may feel this way, but what if it was your child? Wouldn't you want him to be given a just hearing?

Universities should encourage students to be independent and not handhold them for every event. That said, I agree that students should be held accountable for their actions. Let us leave the disciplinary matters to the disciplinary board.

I also appeal to the public to understand the facts and what exactly happened on the ground before coming to conclusions.

Such actions of condemning the school undermine the hard work put in by many other student leaders planning other activities.

Ashwin Pereira

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2018, with the headline 'Criticism of NUS management is not fair'. Print Edition | Subscribe