While professors have been preparing for a debate on Yale-NUS at today’s faculty meeting, controversy surrounding the Singaporean liberal arts college has begun to pop up in a number of media outlets.
In a Bloomberg News op-ed published Tuesday, Clare Malone discusses the challenges involved in introducing a liberal arts education to a place unaccustomed to “the standards of Jeffersonian democracy.” Malone, who worked in student development at the Qatar campus of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Services, writes that United States colleges looking abroad should aim to promote critical thinking but should not expect to make progress “without some ugliness and struggle.”
Koh Choon Hwee, a student at the National University of Singapore, took a different approach to the discussion by turning the debate on Yale-NUS around 180 degrees. In a March 26 piece in the Kent Ridge Common, the columnist suggests the question should not be be whether Yale needs the National University of Singapore, but whether the National University of Singapore needs Yale. She takes a shot at the “simplistic, stock authoritarian-Asian regime stereotypes” critics of Yale-NUS have employed in their arguments against the project.
“It is hard to believe that tenured Yale professors would accept such superficial analyses of a whole political system, nation,” the article states. “Articles like theirs do nothing to promote intercultural communication and mutual understanding.”
And in a New York Times article published today, Tamar Lewin takes her own look at faculty dissent on campus in New Haven, calling it “a whiff of a Yale Spring.”