Yale under fire for new campus in restrictive Singapore

NEW HAVEN, Dec 29: For more than 300 years, Yale University has prided itself on training top students to question and analyze, to challenge and critique.
Now, Yale is seeking to export those values by establishing the first foreign campus to bear its name, a liberal arts college in Singapore that is set to open this summer. The ambitious, multimillion-dollar project thrills many in the Yale community who say it will help the university maintain its prestige and build global influence.
But it has also stirred sharp criticism from faculty and human-rights advocates who say it is impossible to build an elite college dedicated to free inquiry in an authoritarian nation with heavy restrictions on public speech and assembly.
“Yale’s motto is ‘Lux et veritas,’ or ‘Light and truth,’” said Michael Fischer, a Yale professor of computer science. “We’re going into a place with severe curbs on light and truth … We’re redefining the brand in a way that’s contrary to Yale’s values.”
Yale President Richard Levin describes the new venture as a chance to extend Yale’s tradition of nurturing independent thinkers to a dynamic young nation at the crossroads of Asia. In the 19th century, Yale scholars fanned out to launch dozens of American colleges, Levin noted in a 2010 memo presenting the concept to faculty. “Yale could influence the course of 21st century education as profoundly,” he wrote.
Levin, who spent years expanding Yale’s campus in New Haven before initiating the Singapore project in 2010, has announced plans to retire at the end of the academic year. His successor, Yale Provost Peter Salovey, also supports the Singapore venture.
Working with the National University of Singapore, or NUS, Yale is building a comprehensive liberal arts college from scratch. The school will offer majors from anthropology to urban studies, electives from fractal geometry to moral reasoning, and a rich menu of extracurricular activities—sports, drama, debate, even a juggling club.
Scheduled to open this summer with 150 students, it is slated to grow to about 1,000 undergraduates living in a high-rise campus now under construction. (AGENCIES)


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