NUS files police report against ex-don over sex allegations
Two female students complained that he had made non-consensual sexual advances towards them
The National University of Singapore (NUS) has made a police report against former Tembusu College don Jeremy Fernando following allegations of sexual misconduct made against him.
It had also advised the two female students who accused him of misconduct to do the same.
In a statement last night, NUS said it made the report "given the seriousness of the allegations".
The university also provided a detailed timeline of when it first became aware of the allegations and the actions it took - which included interviewing Dr Fernando and barring him from making contact with students.
Internal investigations found that Dr Fernando "had an intimate association" with an undergraduate - a serious breach of its code of conduct for staff, NUS said. The university thus sacked him on Oct 7.
Addressing criticisms from students about the way it handled the matter, NUS said: "We recognise we could have shared information about the dismissal with Tembusu staff and students in a more timely manner and we endeavour to do better."
But it felt it had to balance the interests of privacy and confidentiality, particularly for the victims involved, it added.
"The college places the utmost priority on the safety and well-being of its students. When the incident was made known to the college, it immediately took action to protect the student community and worked with the VCU to facilitate a fair and prompt investigation," the university said, referring to the Victim Care Unit.
NUS said it had received a complaint from a student on Aug 27. Dr Fernando was suspended on Aug 31 and was stopped from going to the university other than to assist in investigations.
NUS interviewed Dr Fernando on Sept 1 about the complaint. It completed its investigations into this case four days later.
A second student made a complaint on Sept 7. She was interviewed about it two days later.
NUS said it spoke to both the alleged victims and put them in touch with an officer from the VCU. University staff spoke to them about making a police report and assured them of support, including accompanying them to the police station.
Both students opted not to make police reports, said NUS in its statement.
On Sept 14, Dr Fernando was issued an order not to speak to the second student.
NUS completed investigations into the second case on Sept 21. On the same day, Dr Fernando was informed of the allegations against him and given seven working days to respond. He did so on Sept 30.
On Oct 7, NUS told Dr Fernando he was sacked. It also informed the two students and academic staff of this decision.
The VCU officer again spoke to the students about making a police report. They both decided not to.
On Oct 18, the college informed all staff and students about Dr Fernando's dismissal and continued face-to-face engagement with students and staff in small groups.
The next day, the care officer contacted the two students to check on them, and Tembusu College continued its face-to-face engagement.
Tembusu College said it will continue to address students' concerns. The two women are being supported by the care officer, it said, adding that college directors will also continue supporting the one who is under their care.
NUS also said it has, in response to a request from the NUS Students' Union, made the code of conduct for staff publicly available.
Among other things, it stipulates that staff must not engage in an intimate relationship with an undergraduate and ensure they do not place themselves in a position of conflict of interest.
One of the women alleged that Dr Fernando made non-consensual sexual advances, such as kissing and groping her, and performed oral sex while she was drunk.
The other woman alleged that he tried touching her and kissing her. He later told her not to tell anyone and that if she did not keep it a secret, he would lose his job.
The police confirmed last night a report has been made and investigations are ongoing.