Forum: NUS needs to clear the air about sacked don's actions

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

I read with great concern and shock about the college don who had openly discussed the idea of sexual relationships between teachers and students (Sacked don discussed teacher-student sexual relationships in paper, Oct 21).

I have great respect for the National University of Singapore (NUS) as one of the foremost educational institutions and top-ranking universities in the world.

The paper and the book that former college don Jeremy Fernando wrote in 2017 obviously crossed the line of academic education into immorality and perversion.

It was reported that he wrote "insemination" can be a part of teaching and could open up teachers and students to possibilities, and that teaching and learning take place in the bodies of students and teachers.

Are we allowing academics to sow immoral values and perversion in our young adults whom we entrust to the university, in the name of pushing the boundaries of education?

In the current context of rising voyeurism in the campus, is this what we want?

Second, does the university take responsibility for the papers published by its dons?

Are they aware of the kind of values pushed by the academics they engage?

If these values do not conform to accepted moral norms, does the university take action?

From the article, it appears that the students were quite taken in by his teaching and even liked and looked up to him. This would imply that his teaching may have substantial influence over his students.

Third, his paper and book were written in 2017 - that means three whole years have elapsed where apparently nothing was done. Was the university aware of the paper he wrote?

I would appreciate it if NUS could give some answers. Education is about passing down the right values. Great knowledge without values and discernment could spell disaster for an entire generation.

Yap Eng Chew (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2020, with the headline 'NUS needs to clear the air about sacked don's actions'. Print Edition | Subscribe