After peeping Tom incident, NUS announces stricter punishment for any sexual misconduct

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A view of the National University of Singapore's Faculty of Law campus in Singapore Reuters

After the recent Peeping Tom incident, the National University of Singapore (NUS) said that it would form a Review Committee with female and student representatives to make improvements in the current disciplinary system. Now, the university has introduced its tougher new framework which states that students who make sexual misconduct, can face a mandatory suspension of at least a year.

As per the current Review committee, in case of repeat and recalcitrant offenders, they can face expulsion. NUS also revealed that if anyone shares any details of sexual trysts with another person via social media then the offenders will be summarily expelled from the university.

The NUS committee was set up to review sexual misconduct cases and some recently introduced stricter penalties were part of the 10 recommendations made by the committee. It was also assigned to address flaws in victim support, offender rehabilitation, penalties and campus security.

The implementation of the new framework will be announced by NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye later this week.

On Monday, June 10 in a 28-page report, the committee, which was set up in April, mentioned that the sexual misconduct situation was not improving and other universities elsewhere in the world have been enhancing their framework to tackle such situations.

In the committee's report on Monday the NUS Board of Trustees stated that the significant number of sexual misconduct incidents every year at the university's current sanctions framework for serious offences "does not act as a strong deterrent against such offences".

Monica Baey
Monica Baey Instagram/ monicabaey

NUS introduced this committee after the peeping tom incident involving Monica Baey, who sought tougher action against the man who filmed her when she was taking shower in her hostel last year.

After reporting the sexual misconduct event, Baey criticised NUS for their lighter action against her perpetrator, Nicholas Lim. Police gave the offender a year's conditional warning while the university authority suspended him for a semester as well as asked him to give an apology letter to Baey.

Later, Baey posted on her Instagram account, stating that NUS reached out to her to acknowledge that the current disciplinary system of the institution, dealing with sexual misconduct cases, is "inadequate, organized a town hall to hear the concerns of the student body."

However, under this newly improved framework offenders dealt with by the Board of Discipline (BOD) will be suspended at least for a year and this punishment is mandatory, even BOD cannot remove it.

The new sanction includes two broad categories, which are unwanted sexual advances, voyeurism, sexual harassment and indecent exposure.

The report read, "As a consequence, after considering mitigating factors, the sanctions imposed were less stringent than those recommended in the guidelines."

The committee also wrote in the report that "Victims have a minimal voice in the current disciplinary process and are also not well supported during the process," existing BOD also not gender balanced. They said that the offenders also not supposed to write an apology letter to the victim, as it may inadvertently trigger unwanted memories" for victims.

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