Faculty Gives Yale a Dose of Dissent Over Singapore

Ann McClure's picture
Friday, April 6, 2012

Yale announced a year ago that it was creating the “first new college to bear the Yale name in 300 years” at the National University of Singapore, and last week, after reviewing 2,500 applications, it sent out the first handful of faculty job offers for Yale-N.U.S. College.

So it is distinctly awkward timing that members of the Yale College faculty, which never voted on the plan, are now raising concerns about joining their storied institution with an autocratic city-state where drug offenses can bring the death penalty, homosexual relations are illegal and criminal defamation charges are aggressively pursued.

On campus, there is a whiff of a Yale Spring, a slow awakening — at a university with no faculty senate — to faculty discontent. Many Yale professors are unhappy about the absence of a vote on the Singapore project, while some go further and attack it as a dangerous collaboration with a government that does not support the broad freedoms they believe are central to liberal arts education.

“The faculty is feeling disempowered, that it has no voice in what is going on,” said Seyla Benhabib, a political science professor.

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