NUS student Sun Xu punished for 'dogs' comment

(Updated Tues 9am, adding Sun's reax)

Chinese MOE scholar Sun Xu has been fined $3,000 and required to perform three months of community service by the National University of Singapore (NUS) for calling Singaporeans "dogs" on his microblog.

The NUS on Monday also revoked the engineering student's scholarship benefits for his final semester.

An NUS spokesperson said: “Mr Sun’s undergraduate scholarship benefits have been terminated for the final semester as his behaviour was unbecoming of a scholarship holder. Hence, he is required to pay back about $8,200 for the first tranche of this semester’s scholarship benefits, which had been disbursed to him."

"Each undergraduate scholarship, which covers school fees and accommodation, costs between $18,000 to $25,000 per year. Under the terms of Mr Sun’s undergraduate scholarship, he is required to work in a Singapore-based company for up to 6 years. The full length of service obligation still applies to Mr Sun."

"The University, which is administering the scholarship, has conveyed these details to Mr Sun," she said.

Sun had been called before the school's disciplinary board on 13 March after he came under a heavy online backlash following his "there are more dogs than humans" in Singapore post on his personal Weibo microblog. 

In an email circulated on Monday to NUS students, Prof Tan Eng Chye, deputy president of academic affairs and provost, said the board "has ruled that his remarks were improper, insensitive and disrespectful to the community. The remarks had also stirred up considerable unease, distrust and ill-will within and beyond the university community."

The Board of Discipline (BOD), comprising senior academics as well as representatives of the NUS Students’ Union, meted out the punishments as "his behaviour was unbecoming of a scholarship holder." NUS is the administrator of his scholarship.

Prof Tan added that Sun has been counselled and is deeply sorry.

At 2pm on Monday, Sun posted another public apology on his Facebook page, accepting the NUS Board of Discipline's decision.

"My last month has been filled with great regrets and remorse. My comments were disrespectful and inappropriate, and I am very sorry for making those comments... I just want to say again that I am deeply sorry. Please accept my sincere and heartfelt apologies," he wrote.

In an ongoing Yahoo! poll, 39 per cent of respondents felt the punishments were too lenient, while 35 per cent said they were too little, too late. (See below for results)

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