An Open Letter to the Yale Community

For Release on December 4, 2012
For more information, please contact:
Cary Nelson, crnelson@illinois.edu, 217-356-0649 (H)
Marjorie Heins, margeheins@verizon.net,  212-496-1311 or  917-566-1659 (c)
Joan Bertin, Bertin@ncac.org

Washington, DC-The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) today issued an open letter to the Yale University community expressing growing concern about the character and impact of the university’s collaboration with the Singaporean government in establishing Yale-National University of Singapore College.

The letter raises questions about the possibility of true academic freedom in an authoritarian country, about the specific measures that Yale will take to protect the freedom of faculty, staff, and students, and about the lack of transparency that has characterized the planning process. It recommends that the Yale Corporation release documents and agreements related to the plan to establish the Yale-National University of Singapore campus and establish genuinely open forums in which plans can be reviewed, discussed, and modified as necessary.

Among the many issues that might be reviewed are these:

  • What risks do students and faculty face over campus speech that may be critical of the Singaporean government? What may be the impact on free speech on campus of any surveillance protocols put in place by Singapore authorities?
  • Will all faculty, staff, and students of Yale-NUS (including Singaporean nationals) be guaranteed immunity from prosecution for writings or statements that would be protected under the provisions of the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel? Will the other protections called for in the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel be implemented on the Singapore campus?
  • Will the libraries, faculty, staff, and students of Yale-NUS be exempt from restrictions on importation of publications or periodicals?
  • Will independent Internet access be guaranteed?
  • Will the right to invite speakers to campus be compromised by restrictions on visitors to Singapore?
  • What risks to students, staff, and faculty with various sexual orientations are posed by Singapore’s laws?
  • Do employees at Yale-NUS who are not American citizens face working conditions that would be unacceptable in the United States? How will working conditions for non-American citizens be monitored and reported to members of the Yale community?
  • Will American faculty teaching at the Singapore campus be assured the protections for academic freedom and shared governance embodied in AAUP’s Policy Documents and Reports that faculty have in New Haven?

The open letter is available on the AAUP website at http://www.aaup.org/news/2012/open-letter-aaup-yale-community .

The American Association of University Professors is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that promotes academic freedom by supporting tenure, academic due process, and standards of quality in higher education. The AAUP has approximately 47,000 members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Media Contact: 
Cary Nelson, Marjorie Heins, Joan Bertin
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, December 4, 2012