The National University of Singapore (NUS) has publicly announced its decision to suspend its annual Orientation Week starting Monday, August 1 after a series of reports of inappropriate behavior at the last orientation camp became viral.
The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) called an emergency meeting to deal with the matter last week. As a result, all the student-related events and team-building activities for first year students were suspended with immediate effect until further notice.
The University spokesperson also confirmed the institution would not tolerate any behavior or activity that denigrates the dignity of students or humiliates them. The spokesperson also pointed out that each NUS student and freshmen, in particular, need to feel safe and secure on campus. He strongly recommended that the personal choice of an individual not to participate in certain activity needs to be respected by anyone.
The emergency meeting came after a recent video showing a female student dunked into a pool of water by four male counterparts. The video is said to be taken at one of the orientation camp venues at the NUS. Later on, as reported by Straits Times, a university official confirmed that the video did indeed contain activities that took place at the school premises:
“We are deeply disappointed that some of our students have flouted the rules and behaved in an unacceptable manner in organizing freshmen activities.”
Several complaints about increasingly sexualised activities at recent NUS orientation camps have been lodged, reports The Online Citizen. According to people familiar with the matter, there were cases of inappropriate sexual activities in which NUS freshmen were compelled to join through peer pressure. As reported by The Middle Ground, one of the inappropriate public scenes taken place on campus included the re-enactment of a rape scene between a brother and his younger sister.
The Orientation Week, also called O Week, is a traditional NSU event held annually and is the last orientation camp before the start of the academic year. Each of the NUS departments organizes its own orientation camps. The NUS Students Union’s famous annual charity fund-raising event, Rag and Flag Day, is the culmination of the orientation camps. However, the Rag and Flag activities will go on as planned, writes The Independent. The event plans to raise funds for 22 local charities.
As Channel News Asia reported, those found responsible will be brought before the University’s Board of Discipline:
“In spite of our best efforts to eradicate such offensive games, examples of offensive, humilating and completely inappropriate orientation activities that were not submitted nor endorsed have surfaced. The NUS management takes these reports very seriously and are carrying out thorough investigations. Strong disciplinary action will be taken against those individuals found guilty and responsible.”
The NUS administration once again confirmed that freshmen inauguration ceremonies, welcome events by deans, department heads and masters, and faculty meetings would continue as planned.