Efforts of the AUs in safeguarding campus safety

Published Date: 04 September 2020 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Tin Pei Ling, MacPherson

Question

To ask the Minister for Education in light of the recent assault case involving an NUS student (a) what are the values and behavioural standards that students are expected to uphold; and (b) what measures are in place to ensure the safety of all students.


Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Tan Wu Meng, Jurong GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education what measures are in place at the autonomous universities to assess the risk of assaults to their students and ensure the safety of other students, including women, in the event a student is accused or convicted of a crime involving violence.


Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Tan Wu Meng, Jurong GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education to what extent our medical and dental schools draw reference from the respective professional bodies' ethical code and guidelines for practitioners and past grounds of decisions or jurisprudence arising from the professional bodies' disciplinary tribunals, when assessing fitness to continue in the course for students who have been convicted of crimes involving violence.


Response

1. Several members have asked about the Autonomous Universities’ (AUs) efforts to safeguard campus safety in cases where their students have been accused or convicted of offences involving violence. Members are likely referring to the recent conviction of a student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), who assaulted his ex-girlfriend in an off-campus incident in 2019.

2. First, all the AUs have a Code of Conduct or equivalent, which students are expected to uphold at all times. These Codes stipulate the fundamental principles and ethos expected of students as members of the University community. They span a wide range of expected behaviours, including personal, professional and academic integrity, respect for others, respect for the rule of law and campus policies, to name a few. Students are educated on these, including the need to respect others, manage boundaries and engage in appropriate behaviours. They are each responsible for contributing to a safe and secure campus environment.

3. Second, when students commit a breach of their AUs’ Code of Conduct, they are subject to disciplinary sanctions. Such breaches include offences such as assault. AUs may impose a range of disciplinary sanctions, such as suspensions or expulsions, supervised community work and mandatory counselling. If the case involves a victim who is a student in the same university, a No-Contact Order can be put in place, where the student offender is prohibited from contacting or being in the vicinity of the victim throughout the remaining period of their studies in the university.

4. Any student under police investigation and who is assessed to pose a danger to any member of their campus community may also be required to stay away from campus temporarily. Such a sanction can be lifted when an assessment is made that this is no longer necessary, for instance when no charges are pressed against the student.

5. The universities also take action for student misconduct that takes place off-campus that they are made aware of, such as in this recent case of the NUS student. In such instances, they may rely on Police investigations as additional sources of information and subject the student to the disciplinary process and sanctions once sufficient details become available to them.

6. Third, campus security measures in place include round-the-clock security personnel who carry out regular campus-wide patrols, and increased CCTV surveillance. Students are able to call campus security should they feel at risk, at any time.

7. Finally, in response to the question from Dr Tan Wu Meng, the AUs do take reference from the professional bodies’ ethical codes and guidelines for practitioners in deciding on the disciplinary sanctions or assessing the fitness of the student to continue with his studies. The approach taken is guided by the AU’s Code of Conduct, statutes and regulations, and Board of Discipline processes. The students’ disciplinary records may also be taken into consideration when they apply to be registered practitioners.

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