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college's donors, the students wrote a 5-point summary explaining why financial support for the New College should be withdrawn: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