Letter of concern regarding Benjamin Seet, Melissa Tsang and Khairulanwar Zaini

  • by: Khairu Rejal
  • recipient: Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs), Vice Provost (Academic Personnel), NUS Alumni and Office of Student Affairs - National University of Singapore

We are writing to express our concerns about the above-mentioned graduates or undergraduates of NUS. They recently published a petition against a professor and they display a trenchant hostility towards families and heterosexuals, and which we believe is unbecoming of an NUS graduate or undergraduate.

In their open letter, they attempted to discredit the Professor and threatened to get him sacked. These actions are tantamount to intimidation. They do not merely express a principled opposition to deny the extension of legal rights to heteronorms. What they represent is a clarion call to eradicate any and all instances of gender expressions and relations that fall outside their preferred homosexual order.

In their letter, they had forced the Professor to delete his post. They wanted to oppress any free speech that questions their lifestyle.

We however believe that they have crucially misunderstood their place as a graduate or undergraduate.

Firstly, the undergraduates and graduates have a respectful duty to provide a safe academic environment for its teachers, regardless of sexual orientation. Their petition however exhibit a fundamental disregard for the safety of heteronorm teachers, and that is unacceptable of any student, whatever their religious or political convictions.

Secondly, contrary to what they claim, they are not engaging in a debate about homosexuality. It is more accurate to see their letter as an intimidation towards teachers and denies recognition to heterosexuals and pro-families. Instead of being respectful to educators, they chose to launch this untenable and unjustifiable assault on an educator.

This goes beyond any issue of academic freedom or religious liberty. Not only have they failed to accord respect to educators, they have conducted themselves in a way that is unbecoming of an NUS graduates or undergraduates.

We thus urge that they withdraw their petition and apologize to Professor Syed Khairuddin, as well as undergo counselling to further understand the issues and challenges confronting the student-teacher community. We also hope that the university leadership can see that these remedial actions are adhered to.

Yours sincerely,

The undersigned

***************************************************

NUS CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT

(B) Respect for People

6. The University encourages students to display consideration, kindness and responsibility in their dealings with other persons. Students should not engage in disorderly or offensive behaviour such as making threats against others, intimidating others, harassing others, drunkenness, lewdness, or participating in any unlawful assembly.

7. Students should also refrain from participating in any activity which physically or mentally harms, intimidates or humiliates other students, or which violates one’s dignity as an individual. In particular, negative and improper orientation practices that make new students feel uncomfortable (also known as “ragging”) are not tolerated by the University. Such practices display a lack of basic respect for other persons, imperil students’ physical and mental welfare, and may unintentionally result in an unhealthy atmosphere of fear and intimidation on campus.

(This letter is jointly authored by Dr Muhammad Iqbal and Mr Faizal Razak; graduates and alumni of NUS.)    


**** 


To: Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs), Vice Provost (Academic Personnel), NUS Alumni and Office of Student Affairs - National University of Singapore


We, graduates and alumni of the National University of Singapore, are writing to express our concerns about the above-mentioned graduates or undergraduates of NUS. They recently published a petition against a professor and they display a trenchant hostility towards families and heterosexuals, and which we believe is unbecoming of an NUS graduate or undergraduate.


In their open letter, they attempted to discredit the Professor and threatened to get him sacked. These actions are tantamount to intimidation. They do not merely express a principled opposition to deny the extension of legal rights to heteronorms. What they represent is a clarion call to eradicate any and all instances of gender expressions and relations that fall outside their preferred homosexual order.


In their letter, they had forced the Professor to delete his post. They wanted to oppress any free speech that questions their lifestyle.


We however believe that they have crucially misunderstood their place as a graduate or undergraduate.


Firstly, the undergraduates and graduates have a respectful duty to provide a safe academic environment for its teachers, regardless of sexual orientation. Their petition however exhibit a fundamental disregard for the safety of heteronorm teachers, and that is unacceptable of any student, whatever their religious or political convictions.


Secondly, contrary to what they claim, they are not engaging in a debate about homosexuality. It is more accurate to see their letter as an intimidation towards teachers and denies recognition to heterosexuals and pro-families. Instead of being respectful to educators, they chose to launch this untenable and unjustifiable assault on an educator.


This goes beyond any issue of academic freedom or religious liberty. Not only have they failed to accord respect to educators, they have conducted themselves in a way that is not reflective of an NUS graduate or undergraduate.


We thus urge that they withdraw their petition and apologize to Professor Syed Khairuddin, as well as undergo counselling to further understand the issues and challenges confronting the student-teacher community. We also hope that the university leadership can see that these remedial actions are adhered to. 


Yours sincerely,


The undersigned


***************************************************


NUS CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT


(B) Respect for People


6. The University encourages students to display consideration, kindness and responsibility in their dealings with other persons. Students should not engage in disorderly or offensive behaviour such as making threats against others, intimidating others, harassing others, drunkenness, lewdness, or participating in any unlawful assembly.


7. Students should also refrain from participating in any activity which physically or mentally harms, intimidates or humiliates other students, or which violates one’s dignity as an individual. In particular, negative and improper orientation practices that make new students feel uncomfortable (also known as “ragging”) are not tolerated by the University. Such practices display a lack of basic respect for other persons, imperil students’ physical and mental welfare, and may unintentionally result in an unhealthy atmosphere of fear and intimidation on campus.

Update #15 years ago
Dear everyone,

Thank you for your support! We got 1072 signees after only 3 days, that should mean something. We have already shared our concerns to the NUS Leadership and they will be making their decision soon.

Best,

Khairu Rejal
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