Letter of the week: Universities should report any sexual misconduct to police immediately

The National University of Singapore taken on Oct 22, 2020. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

The fact that there was "a considerable gap" between the date the National University of Singapore (NUS) fired Tembusu College fellow Jeremy Fernando and when it made a police report is wrong (Police report delayed out of concern for victims: NUS, Oct 24).

Let the police investigate immediately; if probable cause is found, the court can try him, and if he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt after due process, let the prisons take over the rehabilitation.

Sexual misconduct cases at tertiary institutions have been in the spotlight in recent times.

Why are these cases being handled by the colleges at all? Colleges that receive government grants must take steps to deal with sexual misconduct by reporting to the police immediately and not sit on it or conduct trial by internal investigation.

Proponents that support the college action may argue that college investigations serve a real need, forcing colleges to respond to and protect the interests of victims in ways the police may fail.

However, can colleges provide due process for the accused and adequate justice for the victim, or do such cases fall under the jurisdiction of the police and courts?

Universities are under obligation to let the police handle the cases rather than just expelling the accused. And we also need to make the process of going to the police more streamlined and less of a shameful process.

Let's leave it to the police to determine if any crime has been committed and the appropriate agencies to follow up with any prosecution or punishment that follows. Leave professors, activists and university officials out of it.

The police handle criminal cases, plain and simple. Colleges are neither law enforcement nor judicial agencies.

Cheng Choon Fei

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