NUS Peeping Tom case

Stiff penalties for sexual offences take effect

Security measures at the NUS campuses such as secure shower cubicles, extra CCTV cameras and security officers in hostels are being ramped up in stages. NUS will also launch its Victim Care Unit at the end of August, as well as a website with resourc
Security measures at the NUS campuses such as secure shower cubicles, extra CCTV cameras and security officers in hostels are being ramped up in stages. NUS will also launch its Victim Care Unit at the end of August, as well as a website with resources for victims of sexual misconduct. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Tougher sanctions, including expulsion and longer suspensions, kicked in yesterday

New and tougher sanctions for sexual misconduct at the National University of Singapore (NUS) took immediate effect yesterday.

The sanctions, proposed by a review committee and accepted by the university on Monday, include expulsion and longer suspensions for severe or serious offences.

A new disciplinary process will start next month and it will give victims a greater voice in the proceedings and hearings before the Board of Discipline.

In an e-mail to students, staff and alumni yesterday, NUS president Tan Eng Chye set out its timeline for implementing measures, some of which are already in place.

Training for first responders, including campus security officers, and other front-line staff and students, will begin this month.

Security measures like secure shower cubicles, restroom locks, extra CCTV cameras and security officers in hostels are being ramped up in stages, and will be completed by October.

NUS will also launch its Victim Care Unit at the end of August. This office will be headed by a psychologist and have an advisory board comprising experts in the fields of law, social work and psychological medicine to ensure it has trained personnel to provide care, support and advice for victims.

 
 

In August, NUS will also launch a website with information and resources for victims of sexual misconduct, as well as a compulsory Respect and Consent Culture module for all students and staff.

In his letter, Prof Tan said NUS provost Ho Teck Hua will oversee the plan to improve the safety of its campuses for 39,000 students and 12,000 staff.

Prof Tan said NUS' sanctions and disciplinary frameworks are separate from, and in addition to, any criminal proceedings brought by law enforcement led by the police. "The fact that a student is brought before the NUS Board of Discipline and receives sanctions has no effect on the investigation, sentencing and punishment by the police and the courts of Singapore. Together, these will serve as a strong deterrent against future offences and ensure the safety of the NUS community."

The review came after third-year NUS undergraduate Monica Baey made public her frustration about NUS' lack of tough measures against sexual misconduct. She said on social media in April that fellow student Nicholas Lim had filmed her in the shower on campus last year.

The harsher sanctions include immediate expulsion for severe or aggravated forms of sexual misconduct, and a minimum one-year suspension for serious offences.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2019, with the headline 'Stiff penalties for sexual offences take effect '. Print Edition | Subscribe