Yale-NUS slammed for blatant ‘disregard’ for freedom of speech
Posted by temasektimes on July 21, 2012
Students at Yale University in the United States have organized and participated in numerous protests and rallies over the years at its campuses, but the spirit of freedom of speech and association appear to be severely curtailed on its Singapore campus in ‘respect’ of the island state’s draconian laws.
The controversial Yale-NUS College, a collaboration between NUS and Yale which was met with stiff opposition from the Yale students and tutors alike will not allow students to organise political protests on campus or form political party student groups, the college’s president, Pericles Lewis told media last week.
International NGO Human Rights Watch criticized Yale-College’s move to suppress public dissent on its campus as showing a “disturbing disregard for free speech, association, and assembly”.
“Yale is betraying the spirit of the university as a center of open debate and protest by giving away the rights of its students at its new Singapore campus. Instead of defending these rights, Yale buckled when faced with Singapore’s draconian laws on demonstrations and policies restricting student groups.” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at HRW.
HRW added that “Yale’s willingness to curtail rights on its Singapore campus lends credence to those who would deny the universality, inalienability, and indivisibility of human rights on the basis of a country’s historical and cultural context and its economic development.”
Singapore has been ruled by a single ruling party for 53 years continuously since 1959. Under the new Public Orders Act introduced two years ago, even a ‘solo protest’ in Singapore is outlawed.
Though Singapore is a ‘parliamentary democracy’ on paper, the ruling party dominates the parliament while the only ‘opposition’ party which hold six seats appears to be its ‘proxy’ like the many pro-government ‘opposition’ parties in Russia.