Singapore Management University (SMU) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are taking various steps to protect students from sexual misconduct and harassment on campus.
These steps will be in conformity with the international practices in the interest of the student community. Both the universities are now undertaking reviews of their disciplinary framework.
The issue of sexual harassment on campus has rocked Singapore as one of the undergraduate students of National University of Singapore (NUS), Monica Baey took to social media last week to call for tougher action against a student who had filmed her having a shower at her hostel.
The incident took place in November last year. The perpetrator was given a 12-month conditional warning by the police, suspended from the university for one semester and banned from entering all on-campus housing premises. He was also ordered to go for mandatory counselling sessions, perform 30 hours of community service and write a letter of apology.
There have been at least two online petitions demanding ‘stiffer punishment’ for the perpetrator.
While stressing review of the disciplinary framework. Lily Kong, SMU president, said, “The review process, which has already begun, will consider international best practices, as well as seek input from our stakeholders.”
“Complaints of sexual misconduct will be investigated in a fair and objective manner, while ensuring that the privacy and interests of the parties involved are treated with sensitivity,” she added.
SMU president pointed out that the University has in place counselling support for affected students, either by counsellors within the university or by external psychologists or psychiatrists.
She also added that administrative support will also be rendered, for example, in re-scheduling of classes or making other arrangements to ensure that they are able to continue with their studies in a conducive environment.
Meanwhile, NTU said it had already strengthened its policy and procedures governing harassment in January.
The anti-harassment policy provides students with a mechanism and support framework through which reports of harassment can be investigated and dealt with.
In addition to this, NTU is also starting a new online module on anti-harassment in July for all freshmen and student organisers of transition and orientation programmes.
The module, which was designed in consultation with student leaders, includes a video and information on what constitutes harassment, how to respond in such cases and where to seek help.