To the Editor:
Re: “Yale-NUS College to Close in 2025,” by Rose Horowitch. Aug 26, 2021.
Thus it ends, with a whimper from the president of Yale: “Salovey said Yale would have liked to continue its involvement with the college,” according to Inside Higher Education. The institution that was to transform education in Asia, bringing the benefits of the liberal arts, has been swallowed up by its larger state parent institution, the National University of Singapore, in a “merger” that looks more like a hostile takeover, erasing the name of Yale from Singapore.
After 12 years, what has been accomplished? Grand claims were made when Yale-NUS was founded — without the consent of the Yale College Faculty. There was never any suggestion that this was a limited-run engagement. The unilateral and sudden nature of this announcement suggests that all was not well in paradise. Richard Levin, Peter Salovey, Charles Bailyn, Pericles Lewis, David Post: You have some explaining to do. Lewis now says, “Distinguished for its culture, Yale-NUS is one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the world.” Why, then, is it being abolished? It makes no sense. Will the liberal arts model itself be carried over, or repudiated?
The biggest losers in all this will of course be Yale-NUS students, past and present: soon they will have a phantom alma mater; and the faculty, most of whom “will look to leave,” according to one professor.
Finally, now that it’s over: Did Yale-New Haven or Yale-NUS ever stand up for the abolition of Section 377a, which makes male homosexuality illegal in Singapore and which has come up for debate numerous times during these years — each time to be reaffirmed? Not a peep. This was the foundation of my objections to the project, starting in April 2011.
Christopher L. Miller
Frederick Clifford Ford Professor of African American Studies and French, Emeritus