A private university in Malaysia lashed out yesterday after its student body was recognized as No. 1 in something unrelated to academic performance – sugar babies.
Sunway University publicly objected to a stain on its “moral fabric” without identifying the offending article, but it came out hours after a dating site ranked it first among 10 universities for students available for pay-to-play relationships.
“We are truly disappointed about a recent article about a company that challenges the moral fabric of our community and of our youth,” university rep Elizabeth Lee said in the statement.
The company was Sugarbook, a dating site the connects sugar-friends, and the article was not one but many.
“We condemn their attempts to encourage youth to partake in immorality, normalise this notion and disregard the mental health impact this causes,” Lee added.
The statement came after Sugarbook issued an attention-grabbing news release claiming the ranks of Malaysian sugar babies had swollen to 300,000, most of whom were female university students in their 20s. Subsequent news reports linked the rise to the pandemic.
People reacting to Sunway’s statement suggested that it should turn down the scold and increase the empathy. Some wrote that the cost of attending a private university such as Sunway could be one reason they topped the list of “immoral” education bodies.
“While it may be ‘immoral’ for your establishment, you need to take a deeper and wider look into the cost of living and today’s society,” Ranessa Theyakaraja wrote in reply.
At Sunway, a typical degree course costs around RM60,000 (US$15,000). According to the university’s website, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no tuition relief has been offered due to “considerable extra investments” for hosting online classes.
“This is what happens when you don’t reduce tuition fee during MCO,” fellow Facebook user Erik Goh chimed in.
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