NUS Provides Statement On Jeremy Fernando Dismissal After Firing Him On 7 Oct

A lecturer who taught at the National University of Singapore was recently fired from his job after complaints of sexual misconduct. However, some students cited a lack of transparency over the dismissal of Jeremy Fernando.

NUS came out with a public statement on Wednesday (21 Oct), outlining the steps taken since they learned of complaints about Dr Fernando.

Although they advised victims separately to file a police report, both chose not to do so.

Regardless, NUS have made one due to the seriousness of the allegations. They also acknowledge that they could’ve been more timely about making known his dismissal to the student body.

NUS clarifies details on dismissal of Jeremy Fernando

This is a timeline that NUS provided regarding the cases, which you can also view here.

Internal investigations into Dr Fernando revealed that he had an “intimate association with an undergraduate”, a breach of the university’s Code of Conduct.

  • Thursday (27 Aug): NUS first receives a complaint about Dr Fernando on
  • Monday (31 Aug): NUS suspends him from duty and forbids him from contacting any student or staff.
  • The same day, NUS interviews the first victim. They note that a Victim Care Unit (VCU) Care Officer explored the option with her to make a police report and promised support if she did, but she decided not to.
  • 1-5 Sep: NUS interviews Dr Fernando regarding the complaint and finished internal investigations
  • Monday (7 Sep): NUS receives a 2nd complaint against Dr Fernando. The VCU Care Officer then explores with the student the option to make a police report, and the Tembusu College Director gives the same advice. However, she, too, doesn’t make a police report.
  • Wednesday (9 Sep): NUS interviews the 2nd student
  • Monday (21 Sep): NUS completes internal investigations on 2nd complaint and  informs Dr Fernando of the alleged misconduct, giving him 7 working days to respond
  • Wednesday (7 Oct): NUS dismisses Dr Fernando. The same day, NUS tells the 2 students about the outcome separately. Again, they explore the option of making a police report, but both decline.
  • Following this, they inform academic staff internally about Dr Fernando’s dismissal.

However, it was only on Sunday (18 Oct) that the rest of the student body was told about the dismissal via email.

Students disappointed at lack of transparency over Jeremy Fernando

On 18 Oct, The Straits Times first reported on the incidents. The article detailed for the first time in public, the alleged acts he committed.

NUS Teaching Staff Accused Of Unprofessional Conduct, Gets Sacked After Investigation

One of the victims allege that Dr Fernando made non-consensual sexual advances, whereas the other said he tried to kiss her while a male friend was in the toilet.

Both victims wish to remain anonymous. NUS told MS News that Dr Fernando was fired following internal investigations.

In the following days, Students for a Safer NUS said they were disappointed in Tembusu College/NUS’s lack of clarification on Dr Fernando’s dismissal and hope for transparency.

NUS Students Call For Clarity On Ex-Professor’s Sexual Misconduct, University Says They’re Looking Into Feedback

NUS notes lack of timeliness for informing students of dismissal

Tembusu College says they continue to support the victims through 2 College directors, and note that 1 of them is a former student.

The VCU has also provided care and support to both victims, and NUS state their intention to continue doing so.

NUS notes that they have to balance interests of privacy and confidentiality, especially for the victims. However, they recognise that they could’ve shared information about the dismissal in a more timely manner.

There was a time lag of 11 days from when Dr Fernando was dismissed to NUS informing students about his dismissal. For some students, this may have been too long.

Balancing transparency with privacy

Hopefully, NUS will continue to be transparent about incidents involving sexual misconduct, given that they affect the student body as a whole.

Regardless, it’s good to know that the university has made a police report. At the same time, it’s understandable why the victims haven’t done so themselves.

With the police on the case, we hope that the victims will find the closure they need from this incident.

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Featured image adapted from Tembusu College and Tembusu College.