Tembusu College lecturer was fired for 'intimate association with an undergraduate', NUS reveals

A "serious breach" of NUS's Code of Conduct for Staff.

Nigel Chua | October 21, 2020, 11:10 PM

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has revealed details of its dismissal of Jeremy Fernando, a former non-residential teaching staff of the Tembusu College.

NUS had previously stated that Fernando had "fallen short of the standards of professionalism that the University expects of a teaching staff", but did not elaborate, citing the confidentiality of its internal staff matters.

According to CNA, in the wake of the incident, a group of Tembusu College students formed a Community Support Working Group to rebuild and strengthen trust within the college community.

Intimate association

In a statement issued on Oct. 21, the university said that its internal investigation established that Fernando "had an intimate association with an undergraduate", which was a "serious breach" of the university's Code of Conduct for Staff.

Thus, the university "acted swiftly to dismiss him", the statement said.

The statement said that there were two students involved in the case, with one being a former student at Tembusu College, and that they were receiving "a strong level of support and care" via the NUS Victim Care Unit (VCU).

The two students were advised to report the allegations of sexual misconduct to the police, in the company of an NUS staff.

NUS has also separately made a police report.

Annex listing actions taken by NUS

It also included an annex detailing the actions taken since the first of two complaints against Fernando were reported to the university.

The list of events begins with the first complaint being made on Aug. 27.

Fernando was suspended on Aug. 31 and prohibited from contacting students or staff of NUS. He was also prohibited from going to work except to assist in investigations.

Fernando was also issued a "No Contact Order" prohibiting him from contacting either of the complainants.

Students who made complaints decided not to make police reports

NUS said that both of the students who made complaints against Fernando explored "the option of making a police report" with NUS staff, including officers from the NUS VCU, as well as a Director from Tembusu College.

For each of the two students, this took place on two occasions; shortly after they had made their complaints, and after they were informed of NUS's decision to dismiss Fernando on Oct. 7.

The complainants were promised "continued support by VCU through the process" if they chose to report the matter, including accompanying them to the police station.

Both complainants decided not to report the matter to the police.

Information could have been more timely

While NUS decided to dismiss Fernando on Oct. 7, and informed academic staff on the same day, other staff and students of Tembusu College were informed more than a week later, on Oct. 18.

NUS acknowledged that they "could have shared information about the dismissal with Tembusu staff and students in a more timely manner".

The university said it had to "balance interests of privacy and confidentiality" with the victims in mind.

Read the full statement here.

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Top image from NUS