Yet another NUS professor was fired due to sexual misconduct with a student. This is the fourth dismissal related to misconduct from NUS in 18 months.
A spokesperson from NUS’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences said on 28 April that a professor was fired. Internal investigations revealed that he engaged in “inappropriate and unprofessional” behaviour towards a student.
When the university received a complaint about the professor, he was issued a “no-contact order”. This bans him from interacting with the student he harassed.
He was also suspended from work while the university investigated the case. The university said that he had breached the code of conduct for NUS staff.
“Based on the findings of the committee of inquiry and in view of the serious nature of the misconduct, the staff’s employment with the university has been terminated.”
A police report has been filed and investigations are ongoing. The faculty will continue to provide care and support to the affected student.
NUS Warns Staff Members
Although FASS did not identify the professor, TODAY understands that it is Mr Ethan Putterman, a former associate professor at NUS’ political science department.
His profile was removed from the university’s website recently. Putterman’s students were also notified by the school about his dismissal on 27 April, via a Zoom video conference.
NUS has since warned all staff members to adhere to the code of conduct and remain professional. Those who fail to do so will face disciplinary action.
For serious cases, the university may dismiss the staff member.
Fourth Case in 18 Months
This dismissal comes after three others in the past 18 months.
Dr Jeremy Fernando of NUS’ Tembusu College was fired in October 2020 after investigations found that he was unprofessional. This came after two complaints of inappropriate behaviour.
NUS concluded investigations on Professor Zheng Yongnian of NUS’ East Asian Institute in November 2020, saying he had acted unprofessionally by hugging a colleague without her consent. He had left NUS in September 2020 on his own accord.
In December 2020, Professor Theodore G Hopf was fired for sexual misconduct after investigations found that he sexually harassed a student. Like Putterman, he was from the political science department.
In March 2021, a research staff member was fired after two students reported him for sexual harassment.
There were also six more investigations of sexual misconduct in 2020, but no further action was taken due to a lack of evidence. Two more investigations were done in 2021, with the two staff members receiving sanctions from the university.
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