Yale-NUS broke ground last week amid persistent concerns that the city-state’s strict control over political speech and assembly are incompatible with the liberal arts education Yale has sought to offer in New Haven.
A recent Wall Street Journal article summarized these concerns, placing special emphasis on the tension between governmental law and administrative policy with regard to what students can do and say. Singapore’s laws criminalize homosexuality, but Yale-NUS has responded with an act prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. University President Richard C. Levin told the YDN earlier this year that at NUS, “there are gay students and faculty…gay subjects are taught.”
So there you have it, Yale-NUS’s official slogan: Gay faculty teaching gay students gay subjects.
But for all the tolerance the new school is touting, the reality of strict political restrictions remains. Under local law, groups like the Yale Dems, the YPU, and DKE would be banned. #OccupySingapore is not likely to pick up much steam, as protests are only legal in a specific corner of Singapore park. I’ve never been, but I hear it’s a tiny corner! The WSJ quoted Pericles Lewis, the college’s new president, who called Singapore a “generally an open society.” Surely the protesters getting shoved into a tiny little corner beg to differ!
But for those prospective students to whom a “generally” open society appeals, NUS is already making their admissions pitch. The website is up and running, and we’ve posted some choice excerpts below, with The Bullblog’s edits in red.
“We are interested in students who want to create real impact and positive state sponsored change in the world —leadership at its best.
Yale-NUS College students will be those who possess:
- an appetite to become not-so-critical thinkers capable of rigorous and insightful analysis
- the skills to communicate certain messages effectively and engage meaningfully with fellow students
- genuine appreciation for negligibly different perspectives and individuals with different backgrounds, interests, and ambitions
- consideration for others and an interest to unquestioningly serve broader society
You will build your version of independence and leadership skills as you and your peers pursue a somewhat rich student-directed co-curricular life of student government where acceptable, innocuous clubs, apolitical organizations, inoffensive arts, and uncompetitive athletics. On campus you will have frequent opportunities to interact with your professors, as well as with prescreened visiting speakers, uncontroversial artists, and allied international leaders.”