Report regarding the cancellation of a learning module at Yale-NUS College
What follows is a statement by President Peter Salovey.
On September 13, Yale-NUS College announced its plan to cancel a previously announced “week seven” Learning Across Boundaries module on “Dialogue and Dissent in Singapore.” On the following day, I announced that I was asking Pericles Lewis, Yale’s Vice President and Vice Provost for Global Strategy and the Founding President of Yale-NUS College (2012-2017), to gather the facts of the case.
Professor Lewis flew to Singapore the week of September 16 and met with more than 25 faculty members and college leaders, including the instructor of the withdrawn offering. Upon his return, he shared his findings with the Yale Faculty Advisory Committee on Yale-NUS College; members of the Committee met with me on Thursday, September 26 and shared their conclusions. Today, I am making public Professor Lewis’s report (PDF).
Input received from faculty and leadership at Yale-NUS consistently points to the conclusion that the decision to cancel the module was made internally and without government interference in the academic independence of the College. Professor Lewis has pointed out a number of errors, mostly administrative, that were made in the process of considering this module, but the Yale Faculty Advisory Committee found that the evidence does not suggest any violations of academic freedom or open inquiry. Members of the Committee who have visited Yale-NUS College say they have found a healthy spirit of academic freedom and open inquiry there. The committee has made a number of procedural recommendations.
My review of Professor Lewis’s report, my conversations with the Yale-NUS College leadership and Governing Board, and the advice of the Yale Faculty Advisory Committee have reassured me of Yale-NUS’s strong commitment to academic freedom. I myself have observed over my eight years of involvement with Yale-NUS College that it has become a model of innovation in liberal arts education in Asia. I am proud of Yale’s involvement with Yale-NUS and would like to express my confidence in its faculty and leadership.
I am grateful to Professor Lewis and the members of the Yale Faculty Advisory Committee for their expeditious and diligent work on this matter. I am equally grateful to the faculty and leadership of Yale-NUS College for their openness in sharing information about the decision and for the excellent work they continue to do to uphold academic freedom and open inquiry at Yale-NUS.
President, Yale University