Sex pests' warnings spark outrage

Controversy surrounds the revelation that two male students who sexual harassed female students received the university's minimum administrative sanction.

A photo which appeared yesterday on Weibo has thrust Fudan University into a storm of controversy. 

The picture, posted by “Lawyer Liu Wenhua,” shows an official notice of punishments meted out to students for breaches of Fudan’s rules during the 2017/18 academic year.

The chart details misconduct by 22 students and the corresponding penalties. 

There were demerits, the most serious sanction, for 15 students. Most of the offences were much as one would expect — cheating in exams and plagiarism. 

Severe warnings were imposed on three students; one who organized a barbecue inside a dorm, one who set off a fire alarm by smoking in a toilet, and another who threatened classmates with violence.  

There were warnings, the lowest category, for four students. Two of them had attended the in-dorm barbecue party organized by the above offender. 

But it was the treatment of the other two students, both male, which stirred up the hornets’ nest.

One had taken “upskirt” photos of female students, the other entered a female toilet and took pictures of girls, presumably under the cubicle doors. 

In his post, “Lawyer Liu Wenhua” was withering in his contempt for the punishments. “Only warnings for secretly taking photos under female students’ skirts and entering a toilet to take photos of girls?”

In the name of transparency, “Lawyer Liu Wenhua” forwarded his post to the official Weibo account of Fudan, and it was not long before Weibo users were asking questions.

“Such behavior is obviously sexual harassment yet they were only given warnings, a less severe punishment than that for cheating in exams?” Weibo user “Intellectual” wrote under the post. “The rules and regulations in the university are far behind those in world-class universities.”

“Qian Gu” wrote: “Does the university only teach students knowledge, but not how to be a good person?”

Deng Ying, a lawyer, said the male students’ behavior had infringed the female students’ privacy, but if the victims did not make a complaint to the police or sue them, there could not be any criminal or administrative punishment for them, which may have led to the light punishment from Fudan.

According to Fudan’s rules, a student who peeps at, secretly takes photographs of, or otherwise violates the privacy of others should be given a warning. Those who violate others’ privacy through online posts should receive a severe warning. Those whose acts have “severe consequences” are punished with demerits.

Those guilty of criminal charges will be expelled from the university; those who receive administrative or judicial detention get at least demerits; and those who receive other administrative or judicial penalties receive at least warnings.

By 8pm, the post had been forwarded more than 10,000 times and received nearly 4,500 comments. 

The university is yet to respond.

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