Singapore

NUS had 71 sexual misconduct complaints in last five years

The most, 25, occurred in 2019, when Monica Baey's case sparked sweeping changes in how sexual misconduct incidents are handled

A total of 71 complaints of sexual misconduct involving students were made to the National University of Singapore (NUS) in the last five years.

The number was highest in 2019, when 25 such reports were made.

This was the year former NUS student Monica Baey sparked a discussion about sexual misconduct by voicing her frustration that the university had not done more against a male student who filmed her in the shower at the Eusoff Hall student residence.

In its first report on sexual misconduct, sent to students and staff yesterday, NUS laid out a summary of past and present cases, including the type of complaints it received, and a breakdown of last year's cases.

It had 12 complaints of sexual misconduct in 2020. During the year, its Board of Discipline or Disciplinary Appeals Board also dealt with another three cases involving students, acting on complaints made prior to 2020.

The university said the report will be provided every six months, with the hope of strengthening and deepening trust within the NUS community.

JUST AND SENSITIVE

"It is important that every incident of sexual misconduct be managed in a just and sensitive manner, guided by the principles of fairness and neutrality. Each complaint is taken seriously and investigated thoroughly following due processes," it stated in the report.

It added that more individuals are coming forward to file reports against alleged perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

NUS said the majority of the complaints in 2019 were made after a townhall meeting it held on sexual misconduct in April that year to address students' concerns.

One-third of the complaints - 24 out of 71 - made between 2016 and 2020 involved verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature and 18 reports were of voyeurism.

The remaining complaints were of other types, such as undergarment theft, upskirt photographs or videos and indecent exposure.

There were also two reports of rape made to the university during these years. NUS said the complainants alleged non-consensual sex, but no further action was taken after investigations by both the police and the university.

Of the 71 cases, 42 were seen by the Board of Discipline, while 11 were referred to their respective faculties for disciplinary action. No further action was taken for 13 cases due to insufficient evidence and investigations are pending in the remaining five complaints.

NUS also received 19 complaints of sexual misconduct involving staff between 2016 and 2020.

Most of these were classified under verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature, and making unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favours.

COURT & CRIME