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NUS Students’ Union “extremely disappointed” with town hall meeting regarding on-campus sexual misconduct

Despite lauding the National University of Singapore (NUS)’s swift response to its students’ call to convene a town hall meeting regarding on-campus sexual misconduct on Thu (25 Apr), the university’s Students’ Union (NUSSU) was “extremely disappointed” by how the meeting was held.

The NUSSU Executive Committee highlighted in a Facebook post on Fri (26 Apr) that the meeting “did not meet its original intentions of sharing its investigative and disciplinary procedures and the sanctions framework for sexual misconduct”.

Another issue raised by NUSSU is the panellists’ inability to “answer students’ questions adequately”, as they are not a part of the Review Committee on Sexual Misconduct.

Vice-Provost (Student Life) Florence Ling and Dean of Students Peter Pang were part of the panel during the town hall on Thu, and had addressed 500 students at an auditorium, CNA reported.

NUSSU, in its statement, mentioned that it has submitted a formal request to the University’s President Tan Eng Chye to “convene another town hall with members of the Review Committee on the panel as part of their report crafting methodology”.

“This is to ensure that students can receive committal answers from individuals who have decision-making power in the committee, and that their voices are heard,” said NUSSU, in light of Thu’s town hall meeting, which it said “did not allow for an extension”.

Despite its criticisms, NUSSU praised the University’s “plans to establish a centralised victim support unit and improve security infrastructure in halls and residential colleges”, in addition to “following through on our suggestions to enforce anonymity and include counsellors on standby”.

The town hall meeting on Thu, which received mixed reactions from its attendees, was convened in the wake of the high-profile sexual harassment case involving NUS undergraduate Nicholas Lim Jun Kai’s act of filming fellow student Monica Baey while she was showering in a Eusoff Hall bathroom, her hall of residence, last Nov.

Ms Baey’s revelation of her case via a string of Instagram Stories had sparked numerous debates on the role of authorities such as the Police Force and university administrative boards in handling cases of sexual harassment on-campus, particularly in terms of providing the appropriate structures to support and protect victims, and has spurred call to action in the form of petitions, including one calling for Lim’s expulsion from NUS.