The university of an undergraduate who spoke about her sexual harassment ordeal on campus has issued a statement apologizing for the student’s experience and pledging to form a committee to review campus disciplinary and support frameworks by the next academic year.
The next academic year begins in August, about four months from now.
National University of Singapore (NUS) dean of students Associate Professor Peter Pang released a statement on Saturday evening apologizing for the “distressing” experience of third-year communications undergraduate Monica Baey being filmed in the campus shower by another male undergraduate.
“We are sorry for Miss Monica Baey’s distressing experience, which is of extreme concern to the university,” said Assoc Prof Pang. “We are in the process of reaching out to her to offer our support and assistance.”
The university recognized the public outcry that happened during the weekend over the incident and has pledged to review its frameworks for disciplinary action and victim support.
“(The) NUS president will convene a committee to review the current disciplinary and support frameworks,” said Assoc Prof Pang.
He added that the committee will include members from the NUS trustee board and “will study the approaches taken by other international institutions, and solicit views from various stakeholders.”
“We expect to share the findings of the study and follow up actions in the new academic year,” he said.
The news did not go down well with concerned students and members of the public, as many chided the university board on their Facebook page for merely setting up a committee.
One particular commenter who received over 1,000 reactions to his Facebook comment urged the academic body to conduct a town hall in two weeks before the current academic year ends.
The student union speaks
The NUS Students’ Union executive committee has also chimed in on the matter, releasing a statement on Sunday saying they respect the discipline board’s judgment “in good faith” as they had conducted themselves according to “existing precedent and due process”.
“However, NUSSU Exco is in the process of considering whether for future cases, as a matter of general policy against sexual harassment, there should be heavier punishments as a matter of deterrence, and for retributive justice for victims,” said a students’ union spokesperson.
In particular, the spokesperson noted how various areas of current university policy could be reviewed further, including improving social-psychological support for victims of sexual harassment and creating a safer environment to report such cases to NUS.
The spokesperson said a proposal has been mooted to conduct a survey regarding sexual harassment on campus and the union “is currently conceiving an action plan to better address issues of sexual harassment”.
The action plan would include the drafting of a report by the union on whether existing sentencing guidelines should be revised.
Coconuts Singapore is aware that Monica has identified the perpetrator in her Instagram Stories but his name is not identified in this report as there are no active charges against him as of present and redacting his name is in view of the current online mob mentality surrounding the perpetrator.