A storm of controversy has erupted within the Nanyang Technological University Students’ Union (NTUSU) as the sole candidate for the NTUSU presidency, Ethan Ong, faces serious allegations of misconduct.
The accusations center on his alleged manipulation of a younger female committee member, Li Xinruo, into consuming alcohol until she blacked out in his dorm room.
According to soapbox.sg, the incident in question occurred during a union gathering held on October 15, 2022, in Ethan’s dormitory room after a union committee meeting. Xinruo, the outgoing Academic Development Welfare Executive, has claimed that Ethan deceived her by pretending to offer her water while, in reality, serving her alcohol.
As a result, she became severely intoxicated, eventually vomiting and losing consciousness in Ethan’s room.
Two other anonymous committee members who were present that night corroborated Xinruo’s allegations, stating they witnessed the events unfold.
One of them, referred to as Karl, noted that Ethan only stopped serving alcohol when the union president intervened. Xinruo had to be escorted out of the room to clean up after vomiting and later passed out while being carried back to the room, where she remained unconscious for six hours.
The saga began when Karl and May, witnesses to the alleged misconduct involving NTUSU presidential candidate Ethan Ong, raised concerns about the incident with the union president. However, they were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution. Subsequently, on October 18th of the previous year, the incident was brought before the NTUSU disciplinary board—a student panel responsible for investigating and issuing punishments for misconduct among union members.
Karl, May, and Xinruo questioned Ethan’s reinstatement and were reportedly told by the Disciplinary Committee that they could confront Ethan directly if they remained dissatisfied after his suspension ended. However, screenshots of Telegram chats obtained by Soapbox indicated that Ethan continued participating in union discussions during his suspension. Allegations also emerged that Ethan remained involved in the core committee of the NTUSU-organized AUN Asean Experiential Learning Programme (AELP).
Despite concerns and these alleged actions, no further action was taken against Ethan, and he officially resumed his duties in January.
The incident gained attention on the subreddit r/SGExams, with a post published on September 14 generating 54 comments before being locked by forum moderators. The ensuing online controversy spilled onto NTUSU’s social media channels, with accusations that the union had deleted user comments related to Ethan’s conduct.
Allegations Against Ethan :
Xinruo, who discovered the truth a week later when Karl and another committee member informed her, expressed feelings of betrayal and anger.
“I felt angered because I don’t normally drink in a guy’s room or with people I don’t trust,” she said”.
“But it was because we had that close working relationship and the fact that he was a respected senior four years older than me.”
“Everything was completely shattered when I found out. I felt extremely betrayed during that first meeting when everything was revealed,” Xinruo added.
Despite the gravity of these allegations, neither Ethan nor the NTUSU president responded to queries from Soapbox regarding the accusations.
In a recent statement issued by the Nanyang Technological University Students’ Union (NTUSU), the union provided details regarding the suspension and subsequent reinstatement of the individual involved in the alcohol-related incident.
The statement emphasized that all parties involved had agreed to a 5-week suspension from Union duties, and there was a collective effort to move forward from the incident.
Furthermore, the statement clarified that the university had conducted investigations into the matter and concluded that there would be no further disciplinary proceedings against the person in question. The statement also addressed the severity of the allegations, categorically stating that the more severe assertions about misconduct of a different nature were unsubstantiated. Despite the suspension and allegations, Ethan remains the uncontested candidate for the NTUSU presidency in the upcoming election. Concerns have arisen regarding the NTUSU’s handling of the matter and its decision to allow Ethan to continue his bid for the presidency.
Furthermore, documents suggest that Ethan continued to participate in union activities during his suspension, raising questions about the effectiveness of the disciplinary measures taken.
In response to the controversy, NTUSU clarified that no one has been elected to the 33rd Executive Committee, refuting claims that Ethan was already a president-elect. They also explained that comments were disabled on social media posts due to an influx of insensitive comments and misinformation.
Xinruo, unhappy with how NTUSU handled the situation, has expressed her objections to Ethan’s candidacy for months. While she does not plan to file a police report against Ethan, she hopes that he learns from the incident and takes responsibility for his actions.
The controversy surrounding Ethan Ong’s candidacy for NTUSU president has highlighted concerns about the handling of allegations within the organization. As the election date approaches, NTUSU faces increasing scrutiny and questions about its commitment to ensuring a safe and inclusive environment within the university community.
Images via Google Maps & NTUSU/Instagram
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