While Yale has other international programs, the Singapore campus will be its largest overseas endeavor. Yale says the new college can advance liberal arts education in Asia and teaching that encourages critical inquiry.
In April, shortly after the two universities announced the new venture, members of Yale's arts and science faculty passed a resolution expressing concern over "the lack of respect for civil and political rights" in Singapore and called on the new college to uphold principles of civil liberty, nondiscrimination and political freedom, which it said are at the heart of liberal arts education.
Singapore law also criminalizes sexual relations between consenting adult males.
"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," said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch's deputy director for Asia. "Instead of defending these rights, Yale buckled when faced with Singapore's draconian laws on demonstrations and policies restricting student groups."
The president of the new college, Pericles Lewis, said that as is the case with National University of Singapore, students would be able to join any political party, but such organizations are based off-campus.