Singapore — Students for a Safer NUS, a group organised to improve the way NUS handles sexual violence, has issued a call for all of the university’s students to demand transparency and accountability after a don was dismissed amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
The organisation, which was set up last year in the wake of NUS undergraduate Monica Baey’s social media post airing her dissatisfaction with how the university handled her sexual misconduct complaint, published a Facebook post on Monday (Oct 19) expressing disappointment “in the lack of clarification and accountability shown by Tembusu College in the wake of Jeremy Fernando’s dismissal after allegations of sexual assault.”
We at Students for a Safer NUS are disappointed in the lack of clarification and accountability shown by Tembusu College…
In its statement, which the group is inviting other student organizations to sign and endorse, it states that “The first statement from any staff representative was delivered about two weeks after his dismissal.
It was sparse in providing information on follow-up measures and released only after individuals on social media had already made light of this incident.
While we fully understand the importance of confidentiality in such cases to protect survivors’ identities, it is not the same as silence on the subject. Accountability and support are needed for students to feel safe.”
Students for a Safer NUS is asking for clarification on what happened, “for the safety of the students. This is especially important as the allegations are of violence committed by a member of the staff.”
The group expressed disappointment that the details of the victims’ assault had only been made public through the media, adding that the College should have been “more prompt” in releasing information.
NUS said on Sunday (Oct 18) that it had fired a college don after investigating allegations that he had engaged in sexual misconduct involving two female students. The university had received two complaints about Dr Jeremy Fernando, a fellow at Tembusu College, alleging that he had “behaved inappropriately as a teaching staff”.
NUS carried out an internal investigation and found that “Dr Fernando’s conduct was found to have fallen short of the standards of professionalism that the university expects of a teaching staff,” and that support and assistance had been extended to the victims.
The two students are quoted in the straitstimes.com as saying that they were disappointed with the lack of communication and statement of clarification from the university to the student population until the issue surfaced on social media.
In its Facebook post, Students for a Safer NUS has called upon students who are part of different organisations who wish to endorse the statement and “work together for a safer campus,” to sign the statement as well.
So far, the following groups have joined Students for a Safer NUS’ call:
- LKYSPP Master in Public Policy, Class of 2020/2022 (19 Oct)
- Students Taking Action for NUS to Divest (19 Oct)
- USP Gender Collective (19 Oct)
- QueerNUS (19 Oct)
- tFreedom (19 Oct)
- Tembusu Debates (19 Oct)
- NUS Students Against Violation of the Earth (19 Oct)
- Yale-NUS Student Government (19 Oct)
- NUS Graduate Students’ Society (19 Oct)
- Tembusu Wildlife Association (20 Oct).