SINGAPORE - In a Facebook post on Monday evening (June 10), Education Minister Ong Ye Kung called the National University of Singapore's (NUS) new sexual misconduct penalties a "robust set of measures".
Mr Ong said that the measures will provide better support for victims, take the offenders to task, deter future offenders, and improve the safety of the campus.
His post came after the National University of Singapore accepted all recommendations by a review committee on sexual misconduct, including tougher penalties such as a minimum one-year suspension for serious offences and immediate expulsion for severe or aggravated cases.
The committee had been set up to review the university's disciplinary and support frameworks after Ms Monica Baey, an undergraduate, who was filmed in the shower at a hostel said that the punishment meted out to the perpetrator was too lenient.
Madam Kay Kuok, the chair of the review committee and a barrister-at-law and member of the NUS Board of Trustees, set out some of the recommendations in an e-mail to students, staff and alumni on Monday.
They span three broad areas - sanctions for offenders, the involvement of victims in the disciplinary process, and measures to enhance victim support and campus safety.
Mr Ong said that the committee engaged various stakeholders and made a special effort to reach out to students. "They listened to their views carefully and deliberated various suggestions, before finalising the recommendations," he added.
"It has been a difficult period for the NUS community, but by taking swift and decisive action, NUS will emerge stronger and better," said Mr Ong.
He added that other institutes of higher learning are also conducting their reviews and the Ministry of Education will continue to work with them to help ensure a safe and supportive environment for our students.
He also thanked the NUS review committee and Madam Kuok for "working so hard over the past month".
In April, Ms Baey, 23, posted a series of Instagram stories detailing how she was filmed in the shower at Eusoff Hall last November and expressed unhappiness with how the university dealt with the case.
The culprit, 23-year-old undergraduate Nicholas Lim, was ordered to write Ms Baey a letter of apology, was suspended for a semester, barred from entering halls and residences and had to undergo counselling. He was handed a conditional warning by the police.
Ms Baey's posts sparked a discussion about disciplinary processes in universities and how sexual misconduct cases are handled.