The National University of Singapore (NUS) said yesterday it will convene a committee to review its disciplinary and support frameworks, after a female undergraduate accused it of not doing enough to punish a fellow student who had filmed her showering.
Ms Monica Baey, 23 and a third-year NUS communications and new media undergraduate, said the Peeping Tom was made to write a letter of apology, undergo mandatory counselling, banned from entering Eusoff Hall and suspended from school for a semester.
The chemical engineering student was not charged and was instead given a 12-month conditional warning by the police.
"I want real consequences for perpetrators that commit such acts and I want to know that NUS will reprimand them seriously so other potential perpetrators know they will face punishment if they commit (such acts)," she wrote on her Instagram page. She also revealed the identity of the male student.
When asked about the incident, NUS' dean of students, Associate Professor Peter Pang, told The Sunday Times that the university was sorry for Ms Baey's "distressing experience", describing the matter as one of "extreme concern".
He explained that when such offences are committed, the NUS Board of Discipline, which comprises student and faculty representatives, "will consider factors such as the severity of the offence, the need for justice for the victim, the rehabilitative needs of the student offender, the safety of the NUS community, and also the decisions and penalties imposed by the authorities".
"We understand that the male student concerned received a 12-month conditional warning from the police," the statement said.
Prof Pang also said the university had heard the concerns raised by students and the public for a safer and more supportive campus, and "recognises that advances in camera technology can be easily abused".
The committee, which will have representation from the NUS Board of Trustees, will get views from various stakeholders and study the approaches taken by other international institutions in dealing with such incidents, he said.
"We expect to share the findings and follow up actions in the new academic year," he added.
Ms Baey, who is currently on an exchange programme in Taiwan, told The Sunday Times the incident took place at 1am on Nov 25 last year while she was staying over in the hall with a friend. Just after she had finished showering, she noticed an iPhone being held underneath the door.
She shouted and the person ran away, said Ms Baey. A girl who was outside the shower stall saw the man running down a staircase.
Ms Baey and the man were both former residents of the hall. She said she knew him personally, and he was the boyfriend of one of her friends, also a Eusoff Hall resident.
Ms Baey notified campus security and the Junior Common Room Committee of Eusoff Hall, the residence's student representative body. She also made a police report.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
(It) will consider factors such as the severity of the offence, the need for justice for the victim, the rehabilitative needs of the student offender, the safety of the NUS community, and also the decisions and penalties imposed by the authorities.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR PETER PANG, NUS' dean of students, on the factors the disciplinary board considers.
According to her Instagram post, the university also sent the police closed-circuit television footage showing a man entering the toilet that night, along with the video he took of Ms Baey that was found in his phone.
She also posted a screenshot showing she received the man's apology letter through NUS on Feb 21. While describing his actions as "vile and inappropriate", the man, who signed off as Nicholas, claimed he was under the influence of alcohol when the incident took place.
Other NUS students have since taken to social media to comment on the incident, with some saying they had heard of similar cases that went unreported, and others claiming to be victims like Ms Baey.
Ms Laura Ng, 24, who graduated from NUS last year, told The Sunday Times she felt it was time the university took sterner action against those who commit such acts. "They aren't being fair to the victims. The school appears to be taking the stance that they don't care for the victims' well-being and dignity, which is quite upsetting," said Ms Ng, who stayed at a residential college in NUS.
In one of her earlier posts, Ms Baey highlighted how last year, a 26-year-old NUS student was sentenced to three strokes of the cane and nine months' jail for molesting a classmate just two months after he was given a conditional warning for peeping at another student, a hall mate, in the shower.
Yesterday, Ms Baey again took to Instagram, urging NUS to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of sexual misconduct. She also asked for more support and counselling for victims, as the damage could be "long lasting".