New NUS framework bans 'negative' orientation activities

(Yahoo Newsroom file photo)
(Yahoo Newsroom file photo)

Following a public outcry over some Orientation Week activities last July, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has imposed a new framework that bans activities with “negative features” from its freshman orientation camps.

These include ragging, causing physical or mental harm, violating one’s dignity and those that promote deliberately close body contact, said a Straits Times report on Thursday (26 January).

The move is the result of a review launched following media reports last July of sexually suggestive orientation games. Some students had complained of being coerced into taking part in the activities.

Details of the framework, which will be implemented for all orientation activities taking place in the lead-up to the new academic semester starting this August, were announced in an internal circular sent to students.

A copy of the framework sent by Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS provost and deputy president for academic affairs, was obtained by The Straits Times. “The aim of this document is to lay down the mission and goals of orientation, and outline the implementation of the ORC’s (Orientation Review Committee) recommendations,” wrote Tan in his e-mail.

The framework will be applicable 24 hours a day, to cover activities taking place outside an orientation camp’s official hours. It also dictates that a safety officer from the camp’s organising committee must be appointed, with a suggested ratio of one officer to every 50 first-year students.

All camp activities – including cheers, forfeits and those conducted at night – must also be vetted by the camp organising committee, staff advisor and the Offcier of Student Affairs.