NTU probes video of students making crude chant and gestures
Anyone found taking part in such games at orientation camps will face disciplinary action, NTU don warns
A video showing a group of male and female students repeatedly chanting an inappropriate word while making crude gestures harks back to the sexualising of university orientation games in previous years.
In response to media queries, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) yesterday said it is investigating sexually inappropriate behaviour by students at one of its freshman orientation camps.
The 30-second video, which was circulated on Instagram last Friday with a caption, "Warning: contains sensitive content", features a male student leading others of both sexes in the chant while gyrating and gesturing at his genitals.
Associate Professor Victor Yeo, deputy associate provost for student life at NTU, told The New Paper yesterday: "Looking at the video, the cheer is not in line with the standards set at NTU, as it runs contrary to the values of safety, respect and inclusiveness which are emphasised in the university's transition and orientation programme."
Confirming the investigation in a statement, he added: "Any student found to be responsible for allowing, condoning, arranging or participating in such cheers will be counselled and also face disciplinary action.
"If any students are emotionally affected by the cheer, we will reach out to them and give them the support they need."
Inappropriate games during orientations in local universities have made the news as far back as 2011.
There was concern in 2016 that such games had become unnecessarily sexualised after some freshmen at the National University of Singapore (NUS) complained that they had been pressured into taking part.
It was reported in June this year that NUS and NTU had stepped up measures in recent years to stamp out inappropriate orientation games.
At NTU, an online module was introduced on what constitutes harassment, how to respond in such cases and where to seek help.
Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist in private practice, told TNP that these occurrences could be part of coming of age.
He said: "Sex remains taboo in our society, and when you group young people together, they might get a 'kick' from lewdness.
"But students need to be mindful. Everyone has different guiding systems. Some students who are more liberal may take it lightly as a joke, but some may feel disrespected and offended."
A fourth-year student in NTU, Miss Valerie Yap, 22, avoids participating in orientation camps as much as possible after the furore over sexualised orientation games in 2016.
"I heard stories from friends who stay in halls that seniors would sometimes push boundaries such as having unofficial stayovers in campus.
"It is up to the students to draw the line, but they may not want to be seen as party poopers,"she said.
Clinical psychologist Carol Belhetchet said instead of focusing on after-care support such as counselling, academic establishments must ensure that students strictly follow rules and regulations on behaviour.
She told TNP: "Universities can be strict with academic rules, so why can't they be equally strict with behaviour?
"There will always be outliers who want to appear as 'edgy' and go to extremes to challenge boundaries. Schools should assert that they do not tolerate such behaviour."
June 21, 2018
National University of Singapore (NUS) students from Kent Ridge Hall allegedly stripped naked in the water at Siloso Beach, Sentosa.
July 26, 2016
An NUS female freshman was asked about drinking of bodily fluids in an orientation game. Others re-enacted a rape scene involving incest.
A bare-bodied NUS male student was reportedly blindfolded and bound with tape before female students licked whipped cream off his neck.
Orientation games at the Singapore Institute of Management-University of London required a male student and a female student to share a biscuit while facing each other. Males also did push-ups as females lay below them.