NUS makes police report, bars tech firm from hiring interns after complaint of inappropriate conduct

The National University of Singapore has barred a local tech firm from accessing its internship portal following complaints by four female students.
The National University of Singapore has barred a local tech firm from accessing its internship portal following complaints by four female students. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - A local tech firm has been barred from accessing the National University of Singapore's (NUS) internship portal following complaints by four female students.

The school has made a police report after alleged inappropriate conduct by a company director during a student's self-secured internship interview.

The New Paper understands that the interview took place in March via a one-way Skype video call, during which the director could see her, but she could not see him.

It is understood the director, who is married, had offered her twice the usual internship allowance provided she accompany him on a business trip without telling the school.

When she told faculty staff, they were alarmed and immediately flagged the company before making the police report in April.

A police spokesman has confirmed the report with The New Paper.

An NUS spokesman told TNP that the girl also informed faculty staff about a message containing unverified allegations against the director, and this was shared with the police.

The message, a copy of which was shown to TNP by faculty students, contained allegations of a sexual nature involving a previous intern who had gone on a business trip with the director and warned students not to join the company.

Students told TNP the message had been circulating among the student body for about a year.

Despite complaints going as far back as 2016, the firm was still listed on an NUS internship portal until May this year.

Between 2016 and last year, the university also received feedback from three other female students from different departments about unfair work practices in the company.

TERMINATION

All of them subsequently terminated their internships. No police report was made as they did not wish to pursue the matter further, the spokesman said.

"The university takes a serious view of any alleged harassment of our students," she added.

"NUS is deeply concerned about the allegations concerning this company. The safety and well-being of our students have been, and will continue to be, our top priorities."

She added that by early May this year, the company and its listings had been removed from the main job portal and two other portals managed by NUS.

However, the firm is still actively sourcing for interns from other schools such as the Nanyang Technological University and Lasalle College of the Arts under the name of a subsidiary.

The NUS spokesman said companies registered on its portals are able to view basic particulars such as contact details and curriculum vitae of students applying for internship positions.

The particulars may also include photographs or NRIC information, but only if they are required by a company as part of the internship application.

It is unclear if this was required by the company on the NUS portals, but it is asking for recent photos of applicants on other school portals.

Its listings on these portals also do not give a salary range, indicating only that it is negotiable.

The NUS spokesman said that based on its records, no NUS student is currently interning with the company.

She added: "We are unable to provide the total number of students who may have interned at this company as NUS students are free to source for their own internships without registering the information with their faculties and schools."