Singapore

NUS to crack down on sexualised games

National University of Singapore (NUS) is promising that "strong disciplinary action will be taken" against those responsible for inappropriate orientation activities.

This follows a report in The New Paper concerning sexualised orientation activities. Activities that have continued despite complaints over the past decade.

One student complained that her peers were made to re-enact a rape scene as a forfeit, while another was asked whose bodily fluids she would like to drink.

Netizens expressed outrage with many calling for swift action to be taken against the camp organisers.

Readers also contacted The New Paper and said that it was unbecoming of the school.

Madam Josephine Ng, 46, a mother of two daughters aged 12 and 14, told TNP that the activities are ridiculous and embarrassing.

"When I read the article, I could not believe it. I've read past reports, and this is not excusable," she said.

"Enough is enough. It has been a whole decade and yet nothing has changed."

"Such activities have a long term impact, not just on students, but on Singapore's image as well."

Mr Seah Kian Peng, member of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Education, expressed surprise that such "unnecessary and humiliating" games have not stopped despite complaints over the years.

He told TNP: "They have definitely crossed the line. During the planning process, the leaders should just ask themselves – is this something they would want their younger siblings to go through. If they had a daughter, would they want her to experience this?"

Earlier this evening, NUS released a statement:

The National University of Singapore (NUS) takes an extremely serious view of the recent media report and feedback on instances of offensive and completely inappropriate orientation activities.

Orientation is intended to welcome and introduce our freshmen to the NUS community. The University expects that orientation activities are carried out in ways that are fully respectful of the dignity of all those participating, regardless of gender.

We do not condone any behaviour or activity that denigrates the dignity of individuals, and that has sexual connotations. Our students, particularly freshmen, must feel safe and secure at all times during orientation. If they decide to opt out of an activity, their wishes must be respected.

As is the practice each year, before the start of this orientation period at NUS, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) had conducted sessions with the students involved in organising and leading orientation activities, including student orientation leaders from NUS Students' Union, Clubs, Societies, Freshmen Orientation Committees, project directors, and Residential Hall Junior Common Room Committees.

During these sessions, OSA went through with the student leaders the do's and don'ts of orientation, as well as banned activities. It was mandatory for these students to go through the written materials with examples of "do's and don'ts". Students were also made aware that strong disciplinary actions will be taken against offenders. In addition, all proposed orientation programmes and activities had to be endorsed and cleared by the relevant supervisors, such as Hall Masters and Vice Deans, as well as OSA, before they could proceed. Students were asked to remove inappropriate activities.

Separately, from the beginning of the year, OSA had worked with the Deaneries in Faculties, and the Masters of Halls and Residential Colleges on the necessary steps needed to ensure the acceptability of all planned student orientation activities.

We are very disappointed that despite these efforts, instances of offensive and completely inappropriate orientation activities that were not submitted nor endorsed have surfaced. We take these reports very seriously, and are carrying out thorough investigations. Strong disciplinary action will be taken against those found responsible.

OSA has met with the student leaders of the ongoing and remaining camps, and briefed them on the guidelines for acceptable orientation activities. NUS staff will also be on site at these camps.

Any student who has concerns with orientation activities can contact the NUS Office of Student Affairs at osabox15@nus.edu.sg on a strictly confidential basis.


GET THE FULL STORY IN THE NEW PAPER, WEDNESDAY, JULY 27

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