Singapore

NUS ramps up efforts to tackle sexual misconduct on campus

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is taking more steps to tackle sexual misconduct after a review and several recent cases involving its faculty members.

In an e-mail circular to students, staff and alumni yesterday, NUS president Tan Eng Chye laid out measures to strengthen its processes of handling sexual misconduct cases, which will include the training of staff and bystanders.

The measures include a sexual misconduct policy that applies to staff and students and a report every six months on sexual misconduct cases involving staff and/or students. Details will be redacted to prevent victims from being identified.

NUS will also introduce refresher courses for staff and students to reinforce respect and consent, and is exploring bystander training to emphasise the importance of this role in spotting sexual misconduct and taking appropriate action.

There are plans to conduct workshops to "build an inclusive and respectful culture on campus, and to strengthen training for staff who are likely to be first responders in cases where sexual misconduct has occurred", said Professor Tan.

He said the Victim Care Unit, which currently supports student victims, will be renamed the NUS Care Unit.

By the second quarter of next year, it will have resources to extend support to NUS staff.

Prof Tan said the university has tightened its internal processes to ensure it will complete reports of arrestable offences to the police no later than two weeks after its board of discipline, for students, or the committee of inquiry, for staff, has concluded investigations.

A police report may be filed if the circumstances warrant it, he said, adding that under Section 424 of the Criminal Procedure Code, NUS is required by law to report any arrestable offence listed. This includes voyeurism, outrage of modesty and rape.

In addition, the university has set up a committee to look at sexual misconduct by staff, and will share more details on how it will implement its recommendations later.

Prof Tan said: "The sad truth is that no matter how hard we try, sexual misconduct cannot be completely eradicated.

"Yet, we must be unrelenting in our desire and effort to tackle the issue head-on. Our approach has to be holistic, just, transparent and sensitive."

Education