NUS fires Tey Tsun Hang after guilty verdict

Former NUS Law professor Tey Tsun Hang leaves the Subordinate Courts with one of his lawyers after receiving a "guilty" verdict. Tey was on Tuesday dismissed from the NUS law faculty. (Yahoo! photo)

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has dismissed former law professor Tey Tsun Hang with immediate effect, after he was found guilty of corruptly obtaining sex from an ex-student in return for better grades.

Tey, 42, was earlier Tuesday found guilty of all the six charges he faced of corruptly accepting sex and gifts from now-24-year-old Darinne Ko. He will be sentenced on Wednesday.

NUS law faculty dean Simon Chesterman, said in a letter to the school's alumni, "We take a serious view of any misconduct and will take strong disciplinary action against individuals who breach these standards."

The dean also added that the school has also reminded all staff that it is "of critical importance" to maintain an appropriate relationship with students.

One recent NUS law graduate, who declined to be named, questioned the timing of Tey's dismissal when he read the letter.

"The timing (of Tey's dismissal) is very interesting, because if it was due to the guilty verdict that he was fired, shouldn't the school wait till the outcome of any appeal by Tey and his lawyers before arriving at a decision?" he asked, when contacted by Yahoo! Singapore. "If they wanted to fire him for an ethical violation, they could have done it ages ago."

He also felt NUS's decision to fire Tey was "kind of premature" given that appeals have not even been submitted or reviewed yet.

"But it's the dean's prerogative to fire him if he feels that he had committed inappropriate conduct," he added.

Another alumnus from the class of 2011, who was personally taught by Tey, felt it was an unfortunate but appropriate move, however.

"He's a very good and engaging prof and he's one of those who are excited by what he does, and passes on the excitement to his students and it's unfortunate that he's been caught in this," he told Yahoo! Singapore. "So from an institutional perspective I would understand why NUS had to take a firm and decisive action to deal with this situation," he said.

Yet another agreed it was the right disciplinary move given the verdict.

"(But) it felt as if NUS had no choice but to fire him," she said. "Their actions had to be commensurate with the Court's."

She added further, however, that there was much anger among her friends that Tey was dealt with but not Ko, whom in her view "is not an innocent victim by any means".

"It's disappointing that she has had no music to face, especially when (Tey) had to deal with such grave consequences," she said.

Chesterman also noted in his letter that the prosecution had never charged that grades were tampered with though the case was said to be about "sex-for-grades".

"We are acutely aware that our grades and degrees shape the future of our graduates, and our reputation as an institution," he wrote, adding that the law school is conducting its own review on its grading system to ensure integrity and have so far "found no evidence of any irregularities".

Click here to read more about Tey's case.