SINGAPORE: The Nanyang Technological University Student Union (NTUSU) has been embroiled in controversy following allegations against one of its Executive Committee members, who is allegedly recently listed as a candidate for the SU’s presidential bid.
These accusations claim that the 24-year-old business student manipulated a fellow junior NTUSU member into consuming more alcohol when she requested water.
NTUSU issued a statement revealing that the accused member, who will step down this week, received a five-week suspension from Union duties but was later reinstated as all parties involved aimed to “move forward from the incident.”
The university concluded its investigations, finding no basis for further disciplinary actions, and more serious misconduct allegations were labelled as “unsubstantiated.”
Reddit whistleblower expose campus controversy
The allegations initially surfaced on the SGExams subreddit on September 14th.
“Last year there was quite an infamous case that spread around in school, where there was this exco member (let’s call him E) that kept giving alcohol to his junior in the same NTUSU team until she got blacked out drunk in his room.”
“When she was almost unconscious, he even lied to her that the clear alcohol was water, coercing her to drink even more….”
The Redditor, who claimed to be friends with an eyewitness, expressed concern about E’s inappropriate behaviour, including asking the junior inappropriate questions about her romantic interest.
Despite E’s suspension, the Redditor questioned how he could aspire to the highest leadership position in the school.
The whistleblower shared additional allegations against E, such as his unilateral decisions to shut down committee ideas and cancel an annual event, as well as his misrepresentation of committee members as incompetent.
The post criticized the school’s handling of the situation, claiming that the previous president and management had disregarded the committee’s complaints.
Furthermore, it highlighted that the victim had faced victim-blaming and gaslighting when reporting the incident to the disciplinary board.
Student-run news outlet shed light on further insight into the incident
A Soapbox.sg article published on September 23rd, a student-run news organization at NTU, provided further insight into the incident.
This event purportedly took place on October 12th, 2022, in the perpetrator, E’s dorm room following a union committee meeting.
Six union members were present in the room and engaged in a drinking session.
According to the victim’s account, after consuming a few drinks and feeling lightheaded, she requested water. However, instead of water, the perpetrator offered her cups of alcohol.
Due to her heavy intoxication, she couldn’t recall the events of that night. Nevertheless, eyewitnesses in the room observed what was happening, and the president allegedly intervened, instructing E to stop serving alcohol to her.
One of the eyewitnesses reported that the victim vomited and had to be removed from the room. She remained unconscious for six hours, with the president and chief of staff staying with her, as recounted to Soapbox.sg.
The victim only learned about the incident a week later and felt betrayed, as she had a close working relationship with the perpetrator and would not have consumed drinks from people she did not trust.
“I felt angered because I don’t normally drink in a guy’s room or with people I don’t trust,” she said. “But it was because we had that close working relationship and the fact that he was a respected senior four years older than me.”
Regarding the incident, on October 18th of the previous year, it was brought before the NTUSU disciplinary board, which decided to suspend the perpetrator for what they deemed as “overboard actions.”
Despite objections from the victim and her friends concerning E’s reinstatement, they were informed by the Disciplinary Committee that they could confront him directly after his suspension.
Victim’s opposition to the perpetrator’s reinstatement echoed well before SU election
Soapbox.sg also noted that screenshots of Telegram chats revealed that E continued to engage in discussions on union matters during his suspension, before officially resuming his duties in January of the current year.
The victim said she started raising objections to the perpetrator’s reinstatement months before the election season this September because she was unhappy with how NTUSU had dealt with the matter and felt he should not run.
According to the article, E plans to run for SU president, and though he hasn’t made an official announcement, he’s listed as a candidate and actively participating in pre-election events.
The victim said she does not intend to file a police report against the exco member, “But I really want him to learn from it in the sense where he can’t just cover things up and think it’s okay to run for president.”
Another Reddit post alleged that NTUSU removed comments on their Instagram that mention the incident
Interestingly, Another Reddit post alleged that NTUSU removed comments on their Instagram that mention the incident, further stirring up more frustration in the online community.
NTUSU claims all parties involved, and affected parties sought to “move forward from the incident”
On September 22nd, NTUSU issued a statement on its Instagram page addressing the allegations circulating online.
They confirmed that they had conducted an internal investigation and suspended the perpetrator from Union duties for five weeks.
After the suspension, all parties involved, and affected parties sought to “move forward from the incident”, the statement claimed.
The statement also mentioned that the university had concluded its investigations into the matter, with no ongoing disciplinary proceedings against the perpetrator.
“To date, there are no other ongoing disciplinary proceedings being taken against the Executive Committee member concerned.”
“As such, we would like to clarify that the more severe assertions about misconduct of a different nature are unsubstantiated.”
No one had been elected as Students’ Union President yet
NTUSU further stated that no one had been elected as Students’ Union President as of yet, with voting scheduled for September 24th.
An Instagram post indicated that the new student union’s investiture would take place on September 27th.
NTUSU reassured the student population that they are committed to serving with the highest standards of conduct and propriety, always prioritizing the well-being of students. They also requested that the privacy of all parties involved be respected.
Regarding the missing Instagram comments, NTUSU clarified that they disabled comments on one of their recent Instagram posts due to an influx of insensitive comments.
They also mention that inappropriate comments that violated Instagram’s guidelines were automatically filtered out by the platform.
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