NUS STUDENT UNION ISSUES SINCERE APOLOGIES TO FRESHMEN PLACED IN UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATIONS

[OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY THE NUS STUDENTS’ UNION]

The National University of Singapore Students’ Union (“Union”) is aware of the deep concerns on the recent series of orientation camp incidents. These sexualized activities, as described and reported by The New Paper, are indecent, reprehensible and not condoned. We would like to sincerely apologise to the freshmen who have been placed into those uncomfortable situations during informal icebreaker games, which were played within their own respective orientation groups. These inappropriate activities are not endorsed by The Union, her Constituent clubs and the orientation organizing committees. The Union would like to emphasise that the egregious behaviour of a few students involved in such incidences are not and should not be seen as a proper representation of the moral integrity and mannerism of National University of Singapore (“NUS”) undergraduate students and the general nature of the activities organised by our students.

Following the spate of newspaper reports, the Union took immediate action by calling for emergency meetings with the staff and key personnel from the various NUS offices to discuss our concerns with those reports and to assist with the investigations. The Organising Committee of Union Camp 2016 had their camp proposals subjected to strict and thorough scrutiny by the school prior to the camp. Therefore, the aforementioned activities clearly fell outside of the scope of activities that the organising committee had in mind. The NUS Students’ Union is currently working closely with the NUS to determine the exact details of these activities, and is assisting with the ongoing investigations.

[APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC] The Union has received several reports of harassment – i.e. name-calling, singling out in derogatory language etc. – by some members of the public. Once again, we would like to emphasise that the inappropriate behaviour of a few errant students involved in the reported camp incidences is not an accurate and conclusive representation of the entire NUS undergraduate population of over 28,000. The Union would like to seek the public’s understanding and we sincerely appeal to you to refrain from extending such treatment to our students.

[A MESSAGE TO OUR STUDENTS – IN LIGHT OF THE SUSPENSION OF ALL ORIENTATION WEEK EVENTS EXCEPT RAG AND FLAG] In light of the recent suspension of student-organised freshmen activities, which were effected without the consultation of the Union, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the dedicated student volunteers who have sacrificed their time and holidays to plan for the various orientation activities for the freshmen of AY2016/17.

Unfortunately, we were not part of the discussions involved and the Union recognizes that the hard work of our organizing committees and volunteers should not have been sacrificed due to the errant behaviours of some students. To our dear volunteers, for the months of hard work in the preparation of these orientation programmes with the genuine intention of providing freshmen with a positive and enjoyable start to their university lives, your efforts will definitely not be forgotten. Stay positive and be strong – do not be discouraged from taking up future commitments if you truly enjoy and have the passion for them!

To our dear freshmen, this is the beginning of your university journey. Regardless of the recent camp incidents, please do not be discouraged or be afraid of exploring the various volunteer opportunities offered to students at NUS. Feel free to join and contribute to the many events and initiatives organized within the university, and to make the best out of your time here in NUS!

The Union have the welfare of our students as our top priority and will extend our support to you. Together with her Constituent bodies (the Faculty and Non-Faculty Clubs), the Union is working together to see how we can best welcome the freshmen and still provide them an enjoyable and positive freshmen experience despite the recent developments. We will also work with the school in restoring the faith in all student-led events, to identify and rectify the issues arising from the surfaced inappropriate cases while not compromising the interest of our students.

“When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Let’s pick ourselves back up again and continue to work together to overcome all odds. As students of NUS, we must stay united and overcome any challenges together as one, as ‪#‎OneNUS‬.

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