The executive-committee of the National University of Singapore Student Union (NUSSU Exco), has issued a statement to express its condemnation of any form of sexual harassment, which is a serious community problem that everyone has a responsibility in handling and its regret that Ms Monica Baey, and other victims of sexual harassment, have had to go through such traumatic experiences as an NUS student.

This is in response to the ongoing scandal that National University of Singapore is facing, in regards to the way it handled the complaints of Ms Monica Baey.
Ms Baey, who is an undergraduate student from the National University of Singapore (NUS) took to her Instagram account on 18 April to call out the school for trying to protect the man who had filmed her in the shower.

According to her posts, Ms Baey had been filmed in the shower by male student. She made a police report immediately following the incident and the perpetrator was identified, along with CCTV and video evidence of him committing the act.

Unfortunately, following an investigation, the man in question was said to be only slapped with a 12-month conditional warning. She added that he will only be punished if he re-offends in the next 12 months.

Ms Baey furiously pointed out that this isn’t the first incident of its kind to happen at NUS, noting that many other women have fallen victim to being filmed in the shower.

When Ms Baey tried to appeal for a heavier sentence with the police, she was told by the investigation officer that that we should have to ‘just accept the outcome’. She added that the officer then said, “If you want real consequences or more action to be taken, go to NUS and push for action”.

Ms Baey said she did approached NUS to push for a stronger punishment from the school but the only thing they did was to forward her a letter of apology from the perpetrator.

In its statement, NUSSU Exco strongly encouraged any victim of sexual harassment to report to NUS, and is willing to assist students in helping report such matters to NUS. Students who know of such victims are encouraged to provide social support and help them seek professional support if necessary.

The NUSSU Exco wrote, “However, justice needs to consider both the victim and the perpetrator, and needs to be proportionate. While the discussion on the issue of sexual harassment and this particular case is important and welcome, NUSSU Exco also strongly urges fellow students to not harass Mr Nicholas Lim and his family.

Noting that the board had ordered a series of “punishment” for the perpetrator, NUSSU Exco also recognises, that as opposed to a criminal court, that rehabilitation is an extremely strong principle in how student offenders are treated in the Board of Discipline, given that NUS is an educational institution. NUSSU Exco also notes that the Board of Discipline had acted in accordance with existing precedent and due process, and respects that the decision by the Board was arrived at in good faith.

NUSSU Exco wrote that it is in the process of considering whether for future cases, as a matter of general policy against sexual harassment, there should be heavier punishments as a matter of deterrence, and for retributive justice for victims. It also stresses that punishment is only one aspect of how NUS should deal with sexual harassment, and that this episode highlights how NUS policy with respect to sexual harassment could be reviewed in various areas.

It further stressed that all members of NUS have a role to play in creating a culture where sexual harassment is not acceptable. This is not the sole responsibility of the administration, and NUSSU Exco encourages students to play their part in “ensuring that we create an empowering, safe and trusting environment for all.”

NUSSU Exco write that it recognises that NUS takes sexual harassment very seriously, and appreciates that it is continuing such a stance and policy.

NUSSU Exco notes that NUS has recently conducted the following:

  • Review of the code of student conduct, with extensive revisions to the provisions on sexual misconduct; and
  • Education of campus security investigation officers and board of discipline members on how to sensitively handle sexual harassment cases.
  • NUSSU Exco takes issues of sexual harassment seriously, and notes that there is currently a proposal being mooted in NUSSU Council with respect to conducting a survey regarding sexual harassment in NUS.

In light of this incident, NUSSU Exco said that it is currently conceiving an action plan to better address issues of sexual harassment. This includes the drafting of a report by NUSSU Exco on whether existing sentencing guidelines should be revised, whilst considering other processes.

NUSSU Exco will continue to work closely with NUS in making the campus a safe and secure environment for all NUS students. NUSSU Exco also notes that NUS President is to convene a Committee to review disciplinary and support frameworks in NUS. NUSSU Exco is confident that the Committee and the administration will continuously engage with students, to create a safer environment that everyone has confidence in.

Separately a statement signed by 489 former and current NUS students has been sent to NUS staff members, voicing their concerns regarding the university’s approach towards sexual harassment, “particularly in reference to the case where a female NUS undergraduate student, Ms Monica Baey, was filmed while showering without her consent.”

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