Yale still waiting on NUS budget

Despite original projections that it would be released as early as Dec. 2010, Yale and the Singaporean government have yet to settle on a budget for the proposed Yale-National University of Singapore liberal arts college.

University President Richard Levin said in November that administrators at both Yale and NUS were nearing a consensus on the project budget, which was originally intended to come out in Dec. 2010 or Jan. 2011. But with only days left in January and many Yale administrators at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the announcement seems unlikely to come this month.

Levin told the News on Dec. 5 that the budget was a “complex arrangement” and finalizing it was taking longer than anticipated.

“We’re still working intensely with the budget,” Levin added Monday. “We’re trying to make it reconcile so that we can get the support that we need.”

Because the Singaporean government oversees NUS and will fully fund the college, dealing with both the school’s administrators and the country’s legislators has dampened the pace of the negotiations, Levin said.

Asked if he was concerned that early delays bode ill for the project’s future, Levin said Friday that he believes undertaking the negotiations with care will ensure the long-term stability of the joint project.

Levin said in September that Yale was waiting for NUS and the Singaporean government to present the budget for the school’s campus, adding that plans for the college would not move forward if Yale administrators felt the budget was insufficient.

When asked if the budget proposed by the Singaporean government was too small, Levin said the discussions were “more complex” than that.

“It has to do with the whole structure of the agreement,” he said Monday. “It’s not a question of too much, or too little, or anything like that.”

Provost Peter Salovey said Tuesday that to his knowledge no major problems have arisen in the negotiations, but that the details of the project are numerous and complex.

“It’s a negotiation that has many dimensions and loose ends,” Salovey said.

But while the negotiations over the project budget proceed, Levin said he has participated in many teleconferences with university officials in Singapore regarding other details of the collaboration. Though the budget is not yet determined, Levin said he discussed architectural features of the new campus with officials in early January.

The college has been in the works since June 2009. Yale and NUS plan to jointly design and run the school, which would offer a liberal arts curriculum and a residential system inspired by Yale’s colleges. Although Yale-NUS would employ Yale faculty, it would be located on the NUS campus and grant degrees sanctioned by that university.

NUS President Tan Chorh-Chuan will deliver a speech at the World Economic Forum Friday about plans for the joint college. Levin will be in attendance.

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