September 23rd, 2010 | Uncategorized

Prof. takes issue with Yale-NUS partnership

Though only about 25 Yale professors attended a meeting Wednesday where they could air their concerns about the proposed Yale-NUS College, some faculty are skeptical of the venture.

Mark Oppenheimer, the coordinator of the Yale Journalism Initiative and a lecturer in political science, uploaded a video of a person being caned by authorities in Singapore onto his blog Thursday. In the post, titled “Yale in Bed With Authoritarian Regime?,” he questioned whether Yale should be involved with a country that bans books and limits freedom of speech.

Oppenheimer said he had written Levin and Yale College Dean Mary Miller to ask about their opinions on caning.

“Let’s be frank: I believe they oppose caning,” he wrote. “But if they cannot say so, or if they think it rude to say so while Yale is negotiating with Singapore, then something has been lost.”

Classics Professor Victor Bers also expressed concerns about the partnership while attending the Wednesday meeting. He talked about a book that is not available in libraries in Singapore. The book, “To catch a Tartar: a dissident in Lee Kuan Yew’s prison,” was published by Yale. It is the autobiography of Singapore’s former solicitor general, who was imprisoned for dissenting with the government and is now in political exile in the United States.