Improper orientation games: NUS disciplines 30 students

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has taken action against 30 students for their role in inappropriate orientation activities in July.

In a circular sent to students yesterday and obtained by The Straits Times, deputy president (academic affairs) and provost Tan Eng Chye stated the range of punishments meted out. These included suspension for a semester, fines of up to $2,000 and mandatory community service of up to 100 hours.

Other disciplinary actions included "behavioural rehabilitation programmes focused on respect and socially acceptable behaviour", statements of reflection on the incidents, and official reprimands that will be on permanent record.

The students disciplined had been involved in orientation camps, including ones for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the NUS Students' Union.

The offences ranged from "disorderly and offensive behaviour, to organising and participating in improper orientation activities that potentially put other students' physical welfare at risk".

The investigations involved about 400 freshmen and senior students. Those found responsible for inappropriate behaviour were then brought before disciplinary boards. The disciplinary process took place between August and early this month.

The boards issued penalties to 30 students found to have breached the university's statutes and regulations or code of student conduct.

Upon receiving notification of the punishments, the students were given two weeks to appeal. However, no appeals were filed, according to the circular.

Professor Tan said many of the students expressed regret and apologised for their behaviour.

"We hope that they will learn from this episode and grow into responsible and respectful individuals," he wrote.

A 14-member Orientation Review Committee comprising faculty members, student leaders and alumni was convened in August to review and offer recommendations to improve freshmen orientation. It is expected to submit its report to NUS later this month.

Prof Tan noted that freshman orientation activities are an important rite of passage at NUS, and many students have had meaningful experiences.

He said: "We thus expect all orientation activities at NUS to be meaningful, safe and fully respectful of the dignity of those participating. We also expect our students, seniors and freshmen alike, to behave in a manner befitting of this highly regarded university community."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2016, with the headline 'Improper orientation games: NUS disciplines 30 students'. Print Edition | Subscribe