Statement regarding the cancellation of an offering at Yale-NUS (National University of Singapore) College
On Friday, September 13, Yale-NUS College announced the cancellation of “Dialogue and Dissent in Singapore,” which was to be a one-week outside-the-classroom offering starting in late September in which a small group of students would examine the political, social, and ethical issues that surround democratic dissent, chiefly by hearing from those who have practiced it. The project was to be led by Singaporean playwright Alfian Bin Sa’at, and to be an installment in the university’s “Learning Across Boundaries” program.
“When I learned of this impending decision, I expressed my concern to the president of the National University of Singapore and the president of Yale-NUS,” said Yale President Peter Salovey. “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.”
President Salovey has asked Pericles Lewis, Yale University’s Vice President and Vice Provost for Global Strategy, and the inaugural president of Yale-NUS (2012-2017), to conduct fact-finding. “I am grateful to Professor Lewis for the work he will do to gather all the facts central to this matter. Once we have a full understanding of what happened, I will determine the appropriate response.”