First year students at National University of Singapore were told to act out a rape scene

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has taken action following the reports of forced sexualised inductions, by suspending all orientation activities.

First year students at one of Singapore’s top universities, NUS, were forced to act out a rape scene as part of a forfeit during an orientation camp.

In response, the university has said that all team-building activities, including orientation camps, and freshman activities in halls and residential colleges, would be suspended “until further notice”.

“The instances of unacceptable behaviour and activities that have surfaced this week play no part in a university education,” NUS said, adding that it was “deeply disappointed” by some of its students.

However, other activities such as freshmen inauguration ceremonies, as well as faculty and department briefings will go ahead.

According to the university, its student-run activities were supposed to “to develop meaningful orientation activities that will help forge new friendships among our freshmen.” Instead, reports emerged of students being forced to partake in disturbing sexual activities. “Every time I didn’t take part, I was so scared that the orientation group would write me off as a prude and ostracise me”, one student said. Another said that she wanted to cry and was traumatised after, “the girl had to lie on the floor, then the guy pretended to kick open a door and say, “Kor kor (big brother) coming.’ The girl had to respond, “Mei mei (little sister) don’t want.”

The university’s response has been met with mixed reactions. Third-year student Yag said, “as much as I find it deeply problematic that such inappropriate activities are carried out at orientation camps, the solution is not and cannot be in banning these events. Doing so only sweeps the problem under the carpet for the university administration because the problematic attitudes and mindsets that led to these activities will not be addressed and will continue to fester among students.”

Second year student Ms Ang, said, “when bombarded with online aggression, I believe (the NUS administration) had buckled under the pressure and reacted in a way that only served to pander to popular sentiment, rather than tackling the key issue.”

“The blame should not go to the camp organisers who do not have the control over the actions of a selected few. Rather, it is important to keep in mind that this culture is passed on from generations above and perhaps, even the group leaders themselves were under peer pressure to keep the culture going.”

However, students 19-year-old NUS freshman Rachel Lim, said that whilst the move should reassure anxious parents, “I still think there’s no need to permanently get rid of the orientation camps.”