Recently, a course on dissent and resistance that was to be conducted by poet and playwright Alfian Bin Sa’at in NUS-Yale was dropped by the university. Sa’at had not been fully aware of the consequences that students could be going against the laws and risk arrest in pursuing the course curriculum.
The decision said the Yale President,Professor Peter Salovey, was made “internally and without government interference”.
In an earlier report, Professor Salovey had said: “In founding and working with our Singaporean colleagues on Yale-NUS, Yale has insisted on the values of academic freedom and open inquiry, which have been central to the college and have inspired outstanding work by faculty, students, and staff: Yale-NUS has become a model of innovation in liberal arts education in Asia.”
“Any action that might threaten these values is of serious concern, and we at Yale need to gain a better understanding of this decision,” he added.
A fact finding mission carried out by Yale Vice-President Professor Lewis, finally led to an announcement from the Singapore Education Minister who said that academic institutions should not be misused for promoting “partisan politics”. Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said: “Academic freedom cannot be carte blanche for anyone to misuse an academic institution for political advocacy, for this would undermine the institution’s academic standards and public standing.”
Read more about the findings in this report from CNA.
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