News of an obscene cheer performed during Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) freshman orientation camp made the news on August 15, 2019.
A video that was shared on Instagram featured students making obscene gestures, such as pointing towards their crotch and gyrating their hips.
The cheer contained multiple uses of the word "kukubird", referencing the male genitalia.
Separately, a post on the NTU Confessions Facebook page by a freshman who attended one of the camps described other inappropriate activities that allegedly took place.
The post claimed that the freshmen had to perform lewd cheers with obscene lyrics. They were also made to say overtly sexual statements by their seniors during a game.
The freshman also mentioned that activities were mostly conducted in Hokkien or Mandarin, with one particularly racist cheer using Chinese words to parody the speech patterns of Indian people.
In response to Mothership.sg's queries, Associate Professor Victor Yeo, who is the Deputy Associate Provost (Student Life) said that NTU takes such feedback seriously and would like to investigate the complaint more thoroughly.
They emphasised that they would like the freshman who wrote the post to write to the Associate Provost (Student Life) or make a report via the NTU Mobile app to allow the university to pursue the matter further.
All information and personal details will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Yeo added that NTU has been "reforming" the orientation activities with increased guidance by faculty and staff.
As part of this, mandatory briefings are held for student organisers and freshmen attending the orientation activities at the start of each academic year.
They have also undergone an anti-harassment online module.
Yeo added that the university has been reaching out to students beyond the orientation period to "build a culture of mutual respect" while encouraging students to actively intervene should they witness inappropriate behaviour.
They would also "continue to remind our students to be more mindful of others’ feelings and to exhibit and encourage appropriate behaviour towards one another."
The full statement can be seen below:
NTU takes such feedback seriously and would like to investigate the complaint more thoroughly. We urge the complainant to write to the Associate Provost (Student Life) [email: [email protected]], or make a report via the NTU Mobile app so that the University can pursue the matter further. All information and personal details will be treated in the strictest confidence.
NTU has been reforming its freshmen orientation activities in the last few years, as part of its larger Transition and Orientation Programme (TOP) that emphasises safety, respect and inclusiveness. Most of our senior students involved in organising orientation activities appreciate and understand these principles. Along with increased guidance by faculty and staff, mandatory briefings on appropriate activities and behaviours are held for student organisers and freshmen participating in orientation programmes at the start of each academic year to reinforce the message. An online module on anti-harassment was also introduced last month for this group. Beyond freshmen orientation, NTU has been reaching out to students to build a culture of mutual respect and encourage active bystander intervention when they witness inappropriate behaviour. For example, the NTU Students’ Union and NTU Graduate Students’ Association organise Confluence, an annual event to promote mutual respect and appreciation of cultures. We will continue to remind our students to be more mindful of others’ feelings and to exhibit and encourage appropriate behaviour towards one another.
Top image adapted via STOMP