Yale-NUS students want donors to withdraw financial support from NUS

Sep 01, 2021 | πŸš€ Fathership

Student representatives from Yale-NUS College including past and current cohorts have drafted an open letter to the college's donors.

The letter was published on Yale-NUS student tabloid The Octant yesterday (Sep 1) but was later removed with no reasons disclosed.

Fathership has reproduced The Octant article in full here.

What students claimed

In appealing to the college's donors, the students wrote a 5-point summary explaining why financial support for the New College should be withdrawn:

1. Top-down NUS leadership showed minimal regard and accountability to stakeholders

Donors, faculty, students, and staff were not consulted in the decision-making process to merge Yale-NUS with University Scholars Programme (USP) to form the "New College".

The lack of transparency also raises doubts about how donations will be used in the New College.

2. Quality and standard of New College may be inferior

Information about the curriculum or structure of a New College is scant. This raises questions about the quality and type of education future students will receive at a new institute.

3. New College campus experience may not be atas enough for Yale-NUS students

The Yale-NUS campus experience ensured a "vibrant, curious and rigorous culture of learning" and is committed to "academic freedom and non-discrimination".

According to the students, such values and policies are "likely to be discontinued" in the New College and that the autonomy of Yale-NUS may be restricted under NUS governance.

4. Irresponsible to announce merger at the last minute

The students felt that it was "irresponsible" to publicise the decision to merge institutions after the new cohort has been matriculated and tuition fees paid.

There were also worries that the last cohort of Yale-NUS students may no longer be able to "experience the community they were promised."

5. End of Yale-NUS means liberal arts education in Singapore and in Asia is at stake

The students stressed that closing down Yale-NUS would demonstrate that liberal arts education have no place in an "authoritarian" environment like Singapore.

"If I cant have it, you can't have it too"

The letter said:

"In the absence of a reversal, we ask that you withdraw your financial support and consider giving it elsewhere to an organization that is more committed to valuing principles of freedom, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary approaches to engaging with the world beyond its walls. If NUS cannot maintain accountability to its stakeholders, then we beseech you to dedicate your support to institutions that workin tandem with and not against the people it promises to support."

By discouraging donors from financially supporting NUS, Yale-NUS students are also implying that NUS students from other faculties should not reap the benefit of Yale-NUS's coffers.

By dumbing down the spirit of NUS to prop up their college, Yale-NUS students have demonstrated that the rights of others should end where their feelings begin.

Lux et veritas (Light and truth), indeed.

S'pore firm develops first Omicron-specific testing kit

Dec 06, 2021 | πŸš€ Fathership
Home-grown biotechnology firm BioAcumen Global has launched Singapore's first Omicron-specific Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kit.

This means that a person taking the test will receive one of three results: Covid-19 positive and Omicron positive; Covid-19 positive and Omicron negative; or Covid-19 and Omicron negative.

Currently, PCR kits here that are capable of detecting Omicron require an additional gene sequencing step to confirm the specific variant. This takes an additional day.

Some PCR kits, such as those currently in use by medical technology firm Acumen Diagnostics and biotech firm MiRXES, are able to detect both the Delta and the Omicron strains, but to confirm if a positive case has been infected by Omicron, gene sequencing is necessary.

Mr Jimmy Toh, director of BioAcumen Global, said: "We are looking at ways to cut down the steps and time needed to run this test. This is crucial, especially at the borders where accurate tests need to be done on-site. There is no time to wait on sequencing results to know if a positive sample is infected with Omicron."

Mass production of the kit has begun, and the BioAcumen Global team hopes this kit will provide much needed help locally and in the region for the surveillance and control of this new variant, Mr Toh said.