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Yale’s Faculty Passes Rights Resolution on Singapore Campus

Yale’s Faculty Passes Rights Resolution on Singapore Campus
An artist's rendering shows a depiction of the Yale-NUS College, released to the media in Singapore, in 2011. Source: Yale-NUS College via Bloomberg

Yale University professors approved a resolution urging that a planned joint campus with the National University of Singapore respect and support human rights and political freedom.

Yale, one of the world’s wealthiest universities, is preparing to open the overseas campus, the first in its 300-year history, next year. About 200 faculty members of the New Haven, Connecticut-based college attended the meeting late yesterday, Yale said in an e-mailed statement.

Professors have expressed concern about human rights in Singapore and the faculty’s exclusion from the planning of the venture. Singapore’s government censors the media and uses the courts to silence criticism of the regime, according to Human Rights Watch, a New York-based group. New York University and Duke University are among other U.S. colleges developing campuses in East Asia.

“This is a great day for Yale,” Christopher Miller, a professor of African-American studies and French, said in an e-mail after the vote. The resolution was approved after a weaker version of it that he called “pablum” was defeated.

Yale-NUS College is scheduled to open in August 2013 with 150 undergraduate students and will grow to about 1,000, according to Yale. Its board includes Richard Levin, Yale’s president, and members appointed by both Yale and NUS. Last year, Levin said he was confident that Yale’s faculty in Singapore could teach and publish without restrictions.

Levin Comment

“I value the engagement of my colleagues and their commitment to important principles, even though I opposed the resolution because it did not capture the mutual respect that has characterized the Yale-NUS collaboration from the beginning,” Levin, who attended last night’s meeting, said in the statement.

Yale, a member of the Ivy League of eight private U.S. universities, was founded in 1701. As of June 30, 2011, the school’s $19.4 billion endowment was second only to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to an annual report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Commonfund Institute.

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