NUS president apologizes for university’s handling of ‘peeping tom’ case: ‘We hope to set things right’

With many Singaporeans, from netizens to government officials, still critical of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and its response to the now-viral “peeping tom” incident — involving one of their male students getting caught filming a female student in a dorm room shower — the university’s president has released a letter to the school’s alumni apologizing for the way NUS handled the situation and promising to make improvements to how they handle sexual misconduct cases in the future.

The letter from NUS president Tan Eng Chye, which can be seen below in its entirety, was sent out yesterday by NUS’ Office of Alumni Relations. Tan begins the letter by referring to Monica Baey, a third-year communications major at the university who brought the case to the public’s attention by writing about it on her Instagram account last Friday in order to call out both the perpetrator and her school for their response to the crime.

The attached message from chairman Hsieh Fu Hua about the NUS Review Committee on Sexual Misconduct says the committee is “reviewing the disciplinary process (including sanctions) and support frameworks relating to sexual misconduct at NUS, in the light of concerns raised by Miss Monica Baey”, adding, “We note the strong public interest in this matter. The committee will proceed swiftly and decisively.”

NUS has been strongly criticized from many corners in recent days for the way it handled Baey’s sexual misconduct incident, which took place in November. After the incident was reported to the school, NUS’ response was to only suspend the offender for six months, ban him from the dorm hall the incident took place in, and require him to write an apology to his victim.

On Monday, the school clarified that its disciplinary guidelines in sexual misconduct cases utilizes a “two strikes and you’re out” philosophy.

Also on Monday, Singapore’s Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung said he had talked to NUS’ president and board chairman to convey his concerns that “the penalties NUS applied were manifestly inadequate in the recent sexual misconduct case.”

The Singapore Police have also come under fire for their response to Baey’s sexual misconduct case, which was to give the offender, who confessed to the crime, a “12-month conditional stern warning” (meaning that he was discharged without being acquitted of the offense but could be prosecuted for committing the same crime within that time period).

In a statement released yesterday on social media, the police justified their decision by stating that the offender in this particular case was “assessed to have a high likelihood of rehabilitation, and was remorseful.” Furthermore, “a prosecution, with a possible jail sentence, will, likely ruin his entire future, with a permanent criminal record.”

Baey said in an interview with Today on Monday that she was gratified by all of the support she had received after coming forward and hoped that the case could be reopened.

This article, NUS president apologizes for university’s handling of ‘peeping tom’ case: ‘We hope to set things right’, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!