TALK show host and former nominated MP Viswa Sadasivan has stepped down as a member of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Alumni Advisory Board.
This comes after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him by two women.
In an email to its alumni on Saturday, the university’s Office of Alumni Relations said it would also discontinue all projects with Viswa and his communications consultancy firm, Strategic Moves.
The NUS statement said this was in light of the allegations made by stand-up comedian Sharul Channa, and doctoral researcher, Kiran Kandade, against Viswa.
“The University does not condone any behaviour or action that is disrespectful and disparaging of individuals, ” said NUS.It added that the incident between Viswa and Sharul took place during the online series, Inconvenient Questions.
It is a collaboration between Strategic Moves and the National University of Singapore Society – a graduate club and registered society which is a separate and independent entity from the university.
Before interviewing her about her profession and work on women’s issues, Viswa, 61, allegedly asked why she was wearing a rose brooch.To which, Sharul, 34, replied she put it on “to distract from the pattern on my top”.
She claimed the presenter then said: “It would be more distracting if you were wearing only that rose.”
The incident was first raised by Sharul in a Facebook post on Feb 4.
Kiran, 60, said on Saturday that she received sexually inappropriate text messages from Viswa five years ago while discussing work.When contacted, Viswa said he had discussed the termination of commercial contracts with NUS President Tan Eng Chye, with both parties agreeing it was best “to disengage given the controversy”.
On Saturday, he emailed Tan about his decision to step down as a member of the Alumni Advisory Board after serving for 15 years.
“I didn’t want my alma mater, the president and senior members of management, as well as the Alumni Advisory Board members to suffer collateral damage. The controversy I am in had nothing directly to do with NUS, ” said Viswa.
“I want to be sensitive to the fact that NUS has been trying its best to manage sexual misconduct cases on campus. It has not been easy for the university. I don’t wish to add to it.”
Sharul applauded the NUS for taking a stand.
“When I spoke on social media about this, my intention was not for him to lose his position but to inform that this behaviour is wrong, ” she said. — The Straits Times/ANN