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Universities should review, explain processes after orientation camp flak



PUBLISHED: 4:00 AM, JULY 30, 2016


FROM DELANE LIM,
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AGAPE GROUP HOLDINGS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CHARACTER & LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

I am thankful that the media has put the spotlight on freshman orientation activities, reminding universities and colleges about the appropriate degree of intimacy during such activities.As a youth trainer and mentor myself, I am disturbed that organisers appeared to have no regard for personal intimacy and gender respect. Although they can rationalise that the games and activities are meant to be fun and are to help them bond them with one another, there are many other ways of meeting the same objectives.

During my interactions with some youth (18 to 22 years old), some female participants have shared their experiences with me about their freshman orientation and were greatly affected by the close physical proximity during some of the activities. Some said they were uncomfortable with participating, but were “forced” to as part of the bonding process. This has been an issue for years.

Having been in the training industry for 12 years, I cannot accept that such activities have to be conducted during orientation camp.

The university’s administration must be held accountable for poor supervision and judgment.

Even if guidelines have been put in place, there must also be a consistent process of checks and monitoring of welfare.

We must always be clear of our intent whenever we design or conduct any activity and understand the rationale of why we do what we do. We must ask ourselves questions such as: “Will this activity compromise safety, personal conviction and value systems?”

We must be mindful of what is culturally acceptable in Singapore, and the value systems of everyone.

All the universities here should explain why such activities have been allowed to go on, and what kind of education system we are promoting.

To what extent do universities monitor such programmes to ensure that the participants are well taken care of?

 

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