Silpakorn University (SU) has initiated an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment during freshman orientation activities, where students were allegedly forced to strip and shower together.
The allegations emerged on 16 September 2017 when Anti-SOTUS, a network that campaigns against human rights violations in universities, posted on its Facebook page
reports it had received from SU Fine Arts students.
According to Anti-SOTUS, senior students woke freshmen up in middle of the night and ordered them to take their clothes off. The seniors then asked them to close their eyes and line up for a group shower. Some of them were ordered to lie down and put their faces against the buttocks of other students, or to give handjobs to other students.
The next day, a second year Fine Arts student “Best” (pseudonym) told the media about the initiation activities he underwent last year. Best said that one senior took his hand and placed it on the senior’s genitals. When Best pulled his hand back, the seniors laughed.
“When I was sleeping, they [the seniors] woke me up and started yelling. Then they ordered all the men to take all their clothes off. At that time, there were friends of mine there who are third gender. They had to do it too,” Best told Amarin TV
. “I was just too afraid to be embarrassed, because everyone else had to take everything off.”
On 18 September, the Fine Arts Faculty held a press conference
to clarify the allegations. A fourth year SU student admitted to ordering the group to shower naked, but only as an icebreaking activity without any intention to bully new students.
The senior added that the activity saved showering time and maintained that there was no sexual harassment.
Yanawit Kunchaethong, Dean of the Fine Arts Faculty, argued further that all students attended the activities on a voluntary basis, and claimed that coverage of the allegations contained bias and misinformation.
“We can’t make everyone happy. There will probably be someone who disagrees. Sometimes, there’s no violence but they will disagree anyway,” Yanawit stated.