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Local urban farm OnHand Agrarian to cease all dealings with NUS until voyeur is expelled; petition calling for offender’s expulsion receives more than 22,000 signatures

Local urban farm OnHand Agrarian has announced its decision to stop all of its dealings with the National University of Singapore (NUS) in the wake of the University’s handling of a recent high-profile sexual harassment case.

In a statement made on Sun (21 Apr), OnHand Agrarian said that it “made the monumentally stupid decision to compromise it’s product and the clients who paid good money for the product” by “allowing a criminal to continue to use it’s facilities”.

“Therefore, Agrarian will suspend all dealings with #NUS until Nicholas Lim is expelled. No talks, no internships, no site visits, no use of our company when you need industry partners to be Co-PIs for government grant submissions,” stressed the company.

It added that the perpetrator “has literally admitted to the crime in writing, after voluntarily consuming a legal narcotic”.

OnHand Agrarian’s decision to stop liaising with NUS has become part of the massive backlash against the University for its way of handling 23-year-old Communications major Monica Baey’s case.

In a series of Instagram Stories on 18 Apr, Ms Baey revealed that she was filmed last Nov by Nicholas Lim, a fellow student at NUS, whilst showering in her hostel bathroom at Eusoff Hall, and to her dismay, NUS had merely given the perpetrator a 12-month conditional warning and instructed him to write an apology letter to her after investigating the incident, despite her police report.

Expressing her disappointment with NUS’s ways in handling her case, Ms Baey said NUS should acknowledge such instances to send the message that perpetrators must face “real consequences” for their crimes, and for the University to “establish a better network and support system for victims of all forms of sexual violence”.

“I want to know that NUS will reprimand them seriously so other potential perpetrators know they will face punishment if they commit (similar acts),” she said.

Ms Baey also told TODAY that on 21 Apr that according to NUS, the offender had been sentenced to a semester-long suspension, and is barred from entering halls and on-campus residences, in addition to being required to attend counselling sessions.

Prior to the results of the investigations and following Ms Baey’s police report, NUS submitted CCTV recordings showing Lim entering the toilet the same night she had showered in the bathroom, and a video of Ms Baey showering was subsequently found in his phone, South China Morning Post reported.

Commenting on NUS’s reasoning for the suspension and the offender’s subsequent apology, Ms Baey told SCMP that “he got away scot-free, with just a slap on the wrist”.

“What I want is for NUS to address the number of these incidents that have occurred, negotiate a fair set of sanctions where the perpetrator is actually reprimanded, through expulsion, community service, and re-education” she added.

Petition calling for Lim’s expulsion receives over 22,000 signatures as of Mon (22 Apr)

A petition calling for the expulsion of Nicholas Lim from NUS has received more than 22,000 signatures as of Mon (22 Apr).

The petition, started by Wayne Wee and whose sister and girlfriend are NUS students, observed that Ms Baey’s case “is just one of many that have been swept under the rug over the past decades by NUS administration unwilling to admit that they are unable to tackle the scourge of men in their halls seeking sexual gratification and using their female schoolmates as a means to that end”.

Drawing parallels between Lim’s act and the act of a construction worker who was sentenced to two weeks’ jail for a similar offence and under similar circumstances, namely under intoxication, Mr Wee argued: “The “ruin his future” narrative has run its course. No one hears this phrase when a less educated person is caught. No one bats an eye at the future of a foreign construction worker.

“The only reason why Nicholas “has a future to be ruined and why Manikandan “doesn’t” is their place of birth. Once again, the rich, the privileged and the powerful get away scot-free whilst the already poor, already oppressed, unaccounted-for minorities get the full brunt of the law,” he added.

“Should not university students/ junior college students/NSFs, who have received the benefits of a full education and who are fully aware of right and wrong receive at least receive equal punishment with a foreigner who might have grown up in a less economically privileged place and not being afforded the privileges of proper moral education?” Mr Wee wrote.

The petition was addressed to:

  • Professor Tan Eng Chye, President of NUS;
  • Professor Ho Teck Hua, Senior Deputy President and Provost of NUS;
  • Professor Yong Kwet Yew, Acting Deputy President (Administration) and Senior Vice President (Campus Infrastructure) of NUS; and
  • Professor Florence Ling, Vice Provost (Student Life) of NUS.

Separately, a statement signed by 489 former and current NUS students was sent to NUS staff members, in which they had voiced 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”.