Featured News Woman crowdfunds for 20K in legal proceedings against NUS

Woman crowdfunds for 20K in legal proceedings against NUS

"The purpose of these funds is to pay the Security for Costs of S$20,000, in order for me to appeal my case to the Court of Appeal. I need to raise the S$20,000 by 22 August," said Jeanne Ten

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Jeanne Ten has been embroiled in a 14-year legal battle with the National University of Singapore, ever since they denied her Master’s Degree.

She was admitted to a Master of Arts (“MA”) degree programme in Architecture in 2002 at the National University of Singapore. But her hopes were dashed three years later when she alleged that her MA supervisor used her MA Thesis to generate a project without giving her due credit.

She alleged, “In September 2006, NUS (National University of Singapore) expelled me from the university after refusing to confer me my Master of Arts Degree in retaliation for my whistle-blowing about misconduct by a professor at NUS, and my whistle-blowing about the subsequent cover-up. As a result of this expulsion by NUS, I had to leave a PhD course that I had already started in the United States”.

In a blogpost, Jeanne wrote that NUS spent more than S$700,000 of public funds to hire lawyers “to fight me every step of the way and protect the wrongdoers from the punishment they deserved”.

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In an exclusive with TISG, she said, that there here are 4 legal claims she made against NUS, Tort of misfeasance in public office, breach of contract, tort of intimidation and negligence.

Despite receiving warnings from those around her not to engage NUS in a lawsuit, she said, “The case is not just about me. No public officer should be able to use abuse his or her power and get away without any accountability. There must be rule of law”.

She alleged that the court found that NUS (Vice Provost Kong) was wrong in imposing certain requirements as graduation requirements. These conditions were imposed after NUS had invited her to my MA degree graduation ceremony. The conditions were also linked to her refusal to accept the outcome of the secretive Committee of Inquiry (COI) investigation findings regarding the said supervisor Dr Wong Yunn Chii.

“Vice Provost Lily Kong misled me (lied to me) to believe that the COI had exonerated him, when in fact the COI had recommended that NUS censure him”, Jeanne said.

In early August, Jeanne had only raised S$3000 out of the S$20,000 she needed as security deposit for the Court of Appeal.

In her latest blogpost, Jeanne wrote, “It has been slow today, but I know with your help I can surmount all difficulties. Please help me to get to the Court of Appeal to obtain justice.

The purpose of these funds is to pay the Security for Costs of S$20,000, in order for me to appeal my case to the Court of Appeal. I need to raise the S$20,000 by 22 August”.

TISG has reached out to NUS for a statement, and their response in full, as of August 19 is as below:

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is aware of the various allegations made
by Ms Ten Leu Jiun Jeanne-Marie on her personal blog and other social media sites.
These allegations are not new. Ms Ten’s allegations were the subject of the lawsuit
she commenced in the High Court against NUS more than seven years ago on 8
August 2012.

On 9 July 2018, following eight full days of trial, the High Court ruled in NUS’ favour
and dismissed all of Ms Ten’s claims against NUS for negligence, breach of contract,
misfeasance of public office and intimidation. The High Court’s written judgment is set
out in Ten Leu Jiun Jeanne-Marie v National University of Singapore [2018] SGHC
158.

Ms Ten was formerly a Masters candidate at NUS. She alleged, amongst others, that
NUS and various officers colluded against her, and as a result, she was not conferred
the degree of Master of Arts in Architecture in 2006. Ms Ten had written to various
authorities regarding her complaints against NUS between 2006 and 2011. In 2012,
Ms Ten filed the lawsuit against NUS through her lawyers. She was represented by
three different law firms during the term of the lawsuit.

NUS has consistently denied any wrongdoing on its part, and had no option but to
defend itself against Ms Ten’s claims. NUS was also compelled to defend itself in the
various applications and appeals that Ms Ten filed in the High Court and the Court of
Appeal. As a result, the hearing of Ms Ten’s lawsuit was delayed until 2017. The trial
took place in an open court during which Ms Ten and the NUS officers involved
provided oral testimony and were cross-examined by lawyers of both parties. The High
Court had dismissed Ms Ten’s claims against NUS.

Throughout this period, NUS nevertheless sought to resolve the matter amicably with
Ms Ten, including to facilitate the conferment of the degree on Ms Ten. In addition to
making an offer through the MOE in 2011, NUS also made offers to Ms Ten in 2017
and 2018. Unfortunately, Ms Ten did not accept any of NUS’ offers. Ms Ten also never
responded to NUS’ proposal to mediate her lawsuit in 2014.

As far as the legal proceedings are concerned, Ms Ten has not filed an appeal against
NUS and the deadline for filing an appeal has passed.

Jeanne blogs here and you can contact her via email  tljvnus@gmail.com

Contribute to her crowdfunding efforts here.

Read related: Embattled MA student seeks justice, raises funds through Give Asia

/TISG

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