Students Not Happy at NUS Town Hall; NUS Setting Up a Unit for ‘Victim Care’

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Whoever you are, or whatever you are, mark this name down: Monica Baey.

For years later, she might be the reason why you’re able to shower in public toilet without having to check if an iPhone XV or Huawei P50 is filming you.

Lest you’ve no idea what I’m blabbering about, here’s a brief context of what happened:

Last year, Monica Baey was showering in an NUS hostel bathroom when she spotted a phone filming her. Soon, the perpetrator admitted to the act, and it turned out that he’s her friend.

After telling NUS and making a police report, NUS got the perpetrator, Nicolas Lim, to write an apology letter to Monica. In addition, he was banned from hostels and also suspended for a semester.

The police gave him a 12-month conditional warning.

Now, obviously these punishments didn’t sit well with Monica (or any sane person), and seeing that she’s got no other avenues to voice her discontent, she went for the last resort: social media.

After posting a series of Instagram Stories about a week ago (yes, can you believe it has only been a week?), her traumatic experience went viral. It turned out that this punishment is the norm; there were apparently more serious offences in the past with the same punishments.

NUS apologised and decided to create a committee to review their discipline and support framework, and also held a town hall session to hear students’ concern.

Well, the town hall was conducted on Thursday (25 April 2019), and let’s just say that if NUS was hoping that the town hall would be able to pacify students, they were wrong.

Students Not Happy

Over 400 students and staff turned up for the town hall, which included Monica, who’s on an exchange programme in Taiwan and had flown back for this town hall.

The town hall was chaired by Prof Ling, vice-provost of student life, and the panel comprised her, the dean of students Peter Pang and NUS counsellor Celestine Ling.

For a start, Prof Ling apologised to Monica and “anyone who has felt unsafe on campus.”

A good start?

Yeah.

In addition, the university openly admitted their mistakes, with the dean of students saying that their “victim care is totally inadequate.”

Sounds good?

Of course.

Security measures would be beefed up and as mentioned, a committee would be set up to review the “relevant framework.” In addition, the school would create a centralised unit for victim care, so that victims like Monica won’t have to resort to social media go through the same experience again.

Well, all good, except for the fact that these details could have easily been made known via a press release.

Not Enough Time

The bane of the session? The 90-minute session was too short and did not allow all attendees to ask burning questions. But what hit the nerves of the attendees were the response by the dean of students at the end of the session.

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Do you have a friend who’s always smiling? Watch this video and you’ll know why he or she is always so happy: