NUS students demand transparency after professor accused of sexual assault

At left, a National University of Singapore sign at Kent Ridge Crescent; the SafeNUS team at right. Photos: Ivan Varghese/Google Maps, safeNUS
At left, a National University of Singapore sign at Kent Ridge Crescent; the SafeNUS team at right. Photos: Ivan Varghese/Google Maps, safeNUS

National University of Singapore students running a support group for sexual abuse victims are leading calls for greater transparency and accountability from the institution after it sacked a professor who was accused of sexually assaulting two undergraduates.

At least 10 student groups today pledged support for SafeNUS, who yesterday released a statement demanding greater action from the school, including more details about what led to its firing of Tembusu College lecturer Jeremy Fernando. 

“We at Students for a Safer NUS are disappointed in the lack of clarification and accountability shown by Tembusu College in the wake of Jeremy Fernando’s dismissal after allegations of sexual assault,” SafeNUS said. “We call upon all NUS students to demand for transparency and accountability from the University.” 

We at Students for a Safer NUS are disappointed in the lack of clarification and accountability shown by Tembusu College…

Posted by Students for a Safer NUS on Sunday, 18 October 2020

 

SafeNUS said yesterday that the school’s statement was “sparse” and had come out only after word of Fernando being sacked surfaced on social media. It then called on NUS to also make the university’s code of conduct for staff publicly available, keep victims and students up to date, involve more students in decision-making processes on campus safety measures, and create a space for victims to heal.

“While we fully understand the importance of confidentiality in such cases to protect survivors’ identities, it is not the same as silence on the subject. Accountability and support are needed for students to feel safe,” it added. 

NUS professor linked to BDSM event sacked after sexual misconduct allegations

Other student groups who showed support for SafeNUS include QueerNUS, Tembusu Wildlife Association, NUS Students Against Violation of the Earth, and student sexuality awareness group tFreedom, a sexuality-awareness group Fernando was involved with that was behind a discussion of sexual kink event that was canceled last month.

The university, or NUS, told Coconuts Singapore yesterday it fired Fernando for “behaving inappropriately” following an internal investigation and that it was providing support and assistance to the accusers. Two undergraduates had complained about Fernando’s advances and assault, which included allegations of kissing and groping after a night of drinking.

SafeNUS, spearheaded by close to 20 students, was formed in 2019 after former student Monica Baey went public about how she was filmed showering in a school’s dormitory by another student who got away with a slap on the wrist.

Other stories you should check out:
Sex-positive NUS group cancels ‘BDSM workshop’ after participants doxxed
NUS professor linked to BDSM event sacked after sexual misconduct allegations

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