If you were to compile a list of sexual offenders who taught, studied, or breathed in the National University of Singapore, you’d either run out of ink or develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
Ever since the Monica Baey incident in 2019, every time an article has “NUS” in its headline, it would more often than not be about sexual misconduct.
NUS keeps dismissing lecturers, but just like pimples on a teenager’s face, they keep popping up.
Another NUS Saga As the School Sacked a Prof for Sexual Misconduct Against Student
A top professor from NUS was dismissed on Tuesday (1 Dec) for sexual misconduct, less than two months after the university announced the sacking of Jeremy Fernando, another lecturer, for the same offence.
According to an NUS statement, Professor Theodore G. Hopf “had sexually harassed the student in physical, verbal and written forms”.
Hopf is the provost chair professor at the department of political science in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS).
An anonymous complaint against Hopf was sent to the university in August this year and investigations began immediately.
After both Hopf and the student were interviewed, a No-Contact Order was issued to the 61-year-old on 15 Sept.
The professor was later suspended and told to stay off campus while investigations continued.
On 7 Oct, a Committee of Inquiry (COI) was appointed to tackle the case. It interviewed the student in the presence of a care officer from the NUS Victim Care Unit (VCU) on 21 Oct.
After receiving an inquiry report from the COI, the university decided to sack Hopf.
“Given the serious nature of the offences, NUS dismissed Prof Hopf on Dec 1,” said the university.
NUS has also made a police report after informing the student that it would do so.
In Aug 2020, during a meeting with the student, Hopf allegedly offered and drank alcohol with the student.
At one point, he made an offensive remark about certain parts of the student’s anatomy, which he later admitted to.
During the same meeting, the 61-year-old forcefully pulled the student towards him twice, during which the student resisted, moved back, and told him to stop.
Hopf admitted to placing his hands on the shoulders of the student while facing the student, but denied pulling the student towards him.
However, the COI “found the student’s account of the unwelcome physical contact to be credible.”
Moreover, Hopf’s actions also went against the code of conduct for staff.
Earlier, in October 2018, the professor had also sent a sex-text message to the same student.
He admitted to this, but said it was meant for someone else.
However, Hopf never told the student it was meant for someone else nor apologised for it.
So, the COI determined that it was serious professional misconduct.
The university reminded staff members of its duty to meet the high standards of conduct expected of them.
“There are strict guidelines pertaining to personal and professional conduct. In particular, the university has zero-tolerance for sexual misconduct by staff. Disciplinary sanctions are imposed for every infraction, including dismissal for a staff offender for serious breaches.”
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