Yale University's plans to open a joint campus with the National University of Singapore next year are being criticized by faculty, students and alumni who are concerned about dealing with Singapore's autocratic government and its long history of trampling on civil and political rights.
Yale's administrators believe they can succeed where other prestigious institutions — including Britain's Warwick University and America's Johns Hopkins University — have failed. The campus, called Yale-NUS, "will pioneer a 'global curriculum' that 'will draw on the best elements of the American liberal arts tradition, but re-shape and re-imagine the curriculum and collegiate experience for Asia,'" says a statement on the Yale-NUS website.
On Thursday Yale faculty approved a resolution by a 100 to 69 vote that calls on Yale-NUS "to respect, protect and further principles of non-discrimination for all, including sexual minorities and migrant workers, and to uphold civil liberty and political freedom on campus and in the broader society." Because Yale-NUS will not grant Yale degrees, Yale Corporation did not need to seek approval for the venture from Yale's faculty.
Yale President Richard Levin publicly opposed the resolution, as did US pundit and Yale trustee Fareed Zakaria. "Singapore has a great deal to learn from America, and NUS has a great deal to learn from Yale," he wrote in an article published in the Yale Daily News. "But it is a form of parochialism bordering on chauvinism — on the part of supposedly liberal and open-minded intellectuals — not to see that we too, in America and at Yale, can learn something from Singapore."