Graduation ceremony ‘not a forum for advocacy’, says NUS

NUS' statement comes after a student flashed an anti-death penalty notice at a commencement ceremony.

Nyi Htet

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Published: 15 July 2022, 3:15 PM

The National University of Singapore (NUS) Commencement Ceremony is “not a forum for advocacy”, said the university on Thursday (Jul 15). 

Its statement came after a student flashed an anti-death penalty sign during his graduation ceremony last week. 

The student, Luke Levy had held up a piece of paper as he went on stage last Wednesday to accept his scroll. The paper read: “Abolish the death penalty. No to state murder. End poverty, not life. Blood on your hands.” 

In response to queries from CNA, the university said: “The NUS commencement is an important ceremony celebrating the achievements of our 13,975 graduates and the completion of their NUS journey.

“All graduates and guests are expected to conduct themselves appropriately during the occasion. It is not a forum for advocacy.”

Luke also posted a thread on his Twitter page on Monday, detailing his side of the story and what allegedly happened throughout the incident and as the situation escalated.

In his tweets, Luke noted that his ceremony took place “around the time of Kalwant Singh’s last appeal for his life in court before execution”. 

Kalwant was a 31-year-old Malaysian who had been convicted and sentenced to death in June 2016 for trafficking heroin. His final appeal for a stay of execution was dismissed by the Singapore court and he was hanged on Jul 7.

According to Luke, NUS deleted the live recording of the commencement ceremony before reuploading it with “the most obvious jump cut in the world” which omitted his time on stage.

He also claimed that the official photograph of the graduation ceremony which he paid for had been edited to censor the words on his notice as well. 

The police have confirmed that a report was lodged regarding the situation and that they are “looking into the matter”, although details of who made the report and when it was made are still not publicly available.

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