Students disappointed by lack of answers at NUS town hall meeting

Students queueing to get into the town hall meeting at NUS University Town yesterday. Several times during the session, the university's representatives deferred issues raised to the committee to review NUS' disciplinary and support frameworks, which
Students queueing to get into the town hall meeting at NUS University Town yesterday. Several times during the session, the university's representatives deferred issues raised to the committee to review NUS' disciplinary and support frameworks, which has yet to be set up. This left many students frustrated.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

They came to be heard and to get answers. Instead, many among the National University of Singapore (NUS) students who attended yesterday's 1½-hour town hall meeting left complaining that they were not given enough time to air their views, and that administrators failed to address their concerns directly.

Speaking to the media after the session, NUS Students' Union (Nussu) president Benjamin Loo said: "It would have been a more fruitful town hall meeting if the relevant members of the review committee were present."

NUS had announced last Saturday that it would convene a committee to review its disciplinary and support frameworks.

The committee, which will include members of the NUS board of trustees, will share its findings and follow-up actions in the new academic year, which begins in August.

The university's representatives at yesterday's event were Professor Florence Ling, vice-provost for student life; Associate Professor Peter Pang, dean of students; and Ms Celestine Chua from the University Counselling Services.

But several times during the town hall meeting, they deferred issues raised to the review committee, which has yet to be set up. This left many students frustrated.

"The answers were woefully inadequate," said a 22-year-old final-year English literature student who did not want to be named.

 
 
 

"As the town hall meeting went on, it became more and more apparent that they weren't listening to our views and taking them seriously, and some felt outraged."

There also appeared to be a mismatch of expectations, as many students said they thought the panellists would share detailed strategies or plans.

Several students also wondered why more time was not allocated for the town hall meeting to allow for more students to be heard.

A call from the floor for the meeting to be extended by 30 minutes was rejected, said a final-year law undergraduate.

Instead, the session ended abruptly, with the panellists saying they had another meeting to attend.

A final-year computer science undergraduate said: "I know they are trying, but the way in which this was conducted seemed like they did not know what to do themselves."

Mr Loo, 24, a final-year business analytics student from the School of Computing, said Nussu will be asking for another town hall meeting, this time with the review committee.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2019, with the headline 'Students disappointed by lack of answers at town hall meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe