Friday, 26 April 2019

Sent to NUS students: [NUSSU EXCO] Statement on NUS Town Hall



So my daughter, an NUS student, received another e-mail from the students' union this afternoon:



Dear Students,

NUSSU EXCO would like to thank all the students who attended and participated in the town hall organised by NUS on Thursday, 25th April 2019. While we appreciate that the University promptly responded to the students’ call for a town hall, we are extremely disappointed in the way the meeting was run.

  • We regret that the town hall was planned in a manner that did not allow for an extension. The town hall should have been the administration’s top priority in light of the various concerns raised by the students over the past week. This was also a huge letdown for students who cleared their schedules prior to finals but were unable to voice their concerns.
  • NUSSU EXCO is disheartened to observe that the panelists were unable to answer students’ questions adequately as they are not on the Review Committee and therefore could not make any commitment on their behalf.
  • Furthermore, the town hall did not meet its original intentions of sharing its investigative and disciplinary procedures and the sanctions framework for sexual misconduct.
  • Despite the aforementioned concerns, we welcome the NUS administration’s plans to establish a centralised victim support unit and improve security infrastructure in halls and residential colleges.
  • We also appreciate the University for following through on our suggestions to enforce anonymity and include counsellors on standby.
  • Moving forward, we have submitted two requests formally to the NUS President, Prof Tan Eng Chye. The first is to increase the diversity and quantity of student representation in the Review Committee. The second is to convene another town hall with members of the Review Committee on the panel as part of their report crafting methodology. This is to ensure that students can receive committal answers from individuals who have decision-making power in the committee, and that their voices are heard.
  • Last but not least, we applaud the students who mustered the courage to share with the NUS administration their experiences and feedback with the purpose of creating a safer and more empowering environment for all.
  • The notes of the town hall and the remaining unasked questions can be found at bit.ly/nustownhall2019. We have forwarded them to nuslistens@nus.edu.sg and we encourage students to submit their concerns, queries and feedback to the aforementioned email address. Students who wish to reach out to NUSSU EXCO can contact us at feedback@nussu.org.sg.

It's also posted on the NUSSU Facebook page:



Later that night, my daughter received this e-mail from the NUS Provost:

Dear Students,

Yesterday afternoon, the Office of Student Affairs and NUSSU held a town hall to discuss how we can improve campus safety and offer better support to victims of sexual misconduct. I would like to thank those who attended and contributed.

I acknowledge that there was some disappointment that the session could not be extended to allow more of you to speak. After the session, NUSSU collated the remaining questions and submitted them to nuslistens@nus.edu.sg, the e-mail address we created to hear from you directly. I assure you that your comments and questions will be carefully reviewed and considered.

The town hall is just the first step in a broad consultation with the NUS community to hear from our students, faculty and staff. We are committed to providing further opportunities for consultation and feedback in the coming weeks, including more town hall sessions.

As you may know, the NUS Board of Trustees has convened a review committee on sexual misconduct. The points raised at the town hall will be shared in full with the committee, in addition to any submissions sent to nuslistens@nus.edu.sg.

I would like to state emphatically that we take our responsibilities very seriously when it comes to protecting everyone in our community from harm. We hear your forceful voices on the need to strengthen our disciplinary framework, to improve victim care support and physical safety, and to redouble our efforts to create a culture that allows everyone to feel safe on campus.

As immediate actions, the University will:

  1. Establish a dedicated office where victims of sexual misconduct can receive specialised, professional support and care. This office will support victims from the point they make a report, and ensure privacy and sensitivity in handling their cases. It will also have counsellors to provide aftercare support and address other concerns and needs that victims may have. This office will be in place before the start of the new academic year.
  2. Accelerate the enhancement of physical security on campus, including broader CCTV coverage, more security staff and better sexual misconduct-specific training for security staff.
  3. Work with student representatives to implement heightened security and privacy tools in bathrooms in all student residences.
  4. Deliver educational seminars on respect, consent and awareness for all students, faculty and staff from the start of the new academic year.

We are committed to a transparent and consultative process, and our proposed actions will continue to be published for your feedback before they are implemented by the start of the new academic year.

Please do reach out to nuslistens@nus.edu.sg, with your suggestions and feedback.

Thank you for taking the time to voice your concerns. I assure you that we are listening.

Sincerely,
Professor Ho Teck Hua




EARLIER: Sent to NUS students: [NUSSU EXCO] Statement on Sexual Harassment in NUS


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