Jan to June: NUS sacks 2 students, researcher for sexual misconduct

University reports 8 other such cases involving students in 1st half of this year

The NUS report said more individuals are coming forward to file reports against student perpetrators, with three of the complaints against students filed by members of the public.
The NUS report said more individuals are coming forward to file reports against student perpetrators, with three of the complaints against students filed by members of the public.ST FILE PHOTO

A staff member was dismissed and two students expelled at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in the first half of this year for sexual misconduct.

The staff member, a researcher, was reported to have made inappropriate sexual remarks at work, sent inappropriate videos to two students and touched one of them without consent.

The researcher's behaviour was reported to the school on March 25, NUS said in a report released yesterday. The report provides details of sexual misconduct complaints in NUS between January and June this year, and an update on a few cases resolved recently.

The researcher has since been fired for breaching the staff code of conduct, after investigations ended on April 7, the report said.

The researcher - who was issued a no-contact order by NUS - admitted to touching the student's knees and making inappropriate remarks. NUS said a police report has been made.

Two students were also expelled for sexual misconduct.

One was expelled for allegedly raping another student in a hostel room, in an incident reported on Feb 10. In another case reported on March 26, a student is alleged to have touched another student inappropriately without consent in a hostel room and taken a nude video of a third student, also without consent.

Both expelled students are appealing against the disciplinary board's decisions, and police reports have been made in both cases, NUS said.

There were eight other cases of sexual misconduct involving students. Complaints included allegations of non-consensual acts during sex, as well as indecent exposure and voyeurism.

A decision has not been made in two of these cases, while two charges were dismissed by NUS.

In another case, no further action is being taken because there was insufficient evidence, while in the final three cases, suspensions or counselling was ordered for the alleged perpetrators.

The university also gave an update on nine cases reported before Jan 1 this year. In two of them, students were expelled. Both involved charges of voyeurism.

NUS also gave an update on an alleged case of sex for favours flagged last December, when there were allegations that two staff members had sexual relations with a former student in exchange for giving better grades.

NUS said it finished its investigations on Feb 3, and that no further action was taken against one of the staff members as the allegations were not substantiated. The second staff member is no longer employed by the university, it added.

Last year, there were several sexual misconduct cases involving NUS staff that resulted in two dismissals.

This included Dr Jeremy Fernando, a former Tembusu College fellow who was fired last October in the aftermath of investigations launched after two students accused him of sexual misconduct.

Another NUS staff member - Professor Theodore G. Hopf from the political science department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - was dismissed in December over accusations of sexual harassment.

The NUS report said there has been a drop in the number of sexual misconduct cases involving staff. There was one case of sexual misconduct in NUS between January and June this year - the sacked researcher's - down from four in the same period last year.

It also said more individuals are coming forward to file reports against student perpetrators. Three of the complaints against students were filed by members of the public.

The NUS report also provided helpline phone numbers: NUS Care Unit (for both staff and students) at 6601-4000 and NUSHeart (for staff) at 800-130-1950.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2021, with the headline 'Jan to June: NUS sacks 2 students, researcher for sexual misconduct'. Subscribe