ASIA’S top university has launched an investigation into claims of inappropriate orientation activities by freshmen students, which included answering questions pertaining to sex and re-enacting a rape scenario.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) said in a statement on Tuesday that it would take “strong disciplinary action against those found responsible” for such activities.
This week, local publication The New Paper published a report containing student accounts of the activities conducted during Freshman Orientation Camps (FOCs), claiming that they had reluctantly participated as they had wanted to make friends.
A 19-year-old freshman going by the name Chloe told the paper that she left the room after feeling uncomfortable during a game which forced students to answer personal questions.
The invasive questions asked included what kind of bodily fluids they preferred to ingest and who among them was the sluttiest.
“Every time I didn’t take part, I was so scared that the orientation group would write me off as a prude and ostracize me,” she said.
Another freshman, referred to as Kim, told of penalties for losing a game, which made male students do push-ups over a female student, mimicking rape.
News of the questionable activities stirred up a storm on social media, with most criticizing NUS and FOC organizers. However, some defended the university and organizers, saying that the practice was “normal” and that those who were complaining were making mountains out of molehills.
While students are told that participation in the camps is voluntary, many feel pressured into taking part for fear of being ostracized if they don’t.
According to local media, such activities have been taking place at university orientation camps for nearly a decade, but noted that they have become even more vulgar over the years, with NUS’s being named as “the most lewd and explicit”.
On NUSWhispers, a website where students can post “confessions” anonymously, the university’s Office of Student Affairs said it has taken note of the concerns raised regarding FOCs, adding that it has strict guidelines on how camps are conducted. It also asked students to report incidences of such activities.
In recent years, NUS has consistently been rated the top university in Asia in prominent world university rankings.