WASHINGTON (AP) — Students at Yale University's new liberal arts college in Singapore will have academic freedom but won't be able to stage protests on campus, Yale officials said Friday.
A human rights group has accused the university of betraying its own principles by accepting the constraints imposed by Singaporean law. Members of the university's arts and science faculty have also criticized the plans.
Yale is based in New Haven, Conn. It is establishing the college with National University of Singapore to open in 2013.
Singapore's schools are internationally renowned, and the national university already cooperates with other American universities, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University.
But Singapore retains restrictions on speech and assembly it says are needed to preserve economic prosperity and harmony among its 5 million people. It has democratic elections but has been ruled by the same party since independence five decades ago.
"Yale entered its partnership with the National University of Singapore in full awareness that national laws concerning freedom of expression would place constraints on the civic and political behavior of students and faculty," Yale University President Richard Levin said in a statement.
Levin said academic freedom and open inquiry on campus would be protected, as would the freedom to publish in academic literature. But students and faculty would have to observe national laws "as do students and faculty in Yale programs from London to Beijing."
Human Rights Watch says Singapore's 2009 Public Order Act requires a permit for people to meet for a "cause-related activity," and outdoor gatherings of five or more people require police permission. Limited demonstrations and rallies are allowed, however, at Singapore's Speakers' Corner. Continued...