Yale-NUS students protest school’s decision-making methods; demand more student representation


Several Yale-NUS College students are protesting the school’s decision-making methods and are demanding more student representation when the school institutes policies that affect students.

About 30 students gathered in a protest on school grounds, dissatisfied that the college has apparently disregarded the voices and opinions of students. In a joint open letter, these students explained that they were choosing to sit quietly in protest as they were tired of standing up and vocalising their thoughts since they felt that their voices were not being heard.

The students who were protesting added that they each tried to express their thoughts to the school’s management but that they feel that the management has not answered their questions sufficiently. To show their dissatisfaction, the students decided that at least one person will sit in protest until the management responds to their demands in writing.

Dissatisfaction over the way Yale-NUS apparently makes administrative decisions without consulting students has been brewing for some time.

Last year, an article titled ‘Yale-NUS’s Halcyon days are over!’ by two students ran in the student-run publication, The Octant. The article made headlines as the writers took issue with the college’s apparent disregard for student input.

Asserting that the lack of student consultation bred a “climate of apathy and fear”, the students decried unilateral decisions made by the school, including the Event Approval Committee that placed severe restrictions on the use of college space.

Policies like the Event Approval Committee, which prohibited any event that requires licences or permits under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act or the Public Order Act, met harsh criticism from students who felt it was a “heavy-handed invocation of Singapore law”.

“I am angry about the state of our Yale-NUS”

More than a year later, frustrated students are calling on the college management to reinstate monthly town halls and to maintain continuous public communication with students when it comes to formulating policies that affect the student body and the Yale-NUS community.

Expressing their anger over the state of Yale-NUS, students have circulated a letter to the college management with a list of demands that need to be met:

@gssq twitter

Besides demanding that monthly town halls resume publicly, the letter calls on the school to involve the input of students proactively as opposed to retroactively. It also calls on the management to involve students more actively in decision-making and to implement an honour code that sets out the college’s mission, vision, guiding principles, and values ​​statement.

This code must be formulated with alumni input, according to students who are protesting, and will be a baseline that students will fall back on should disagreements about “institutional identity or ethos” arise between the management and alumni.

Yale-NUS responds through an open dialogue

Yale-University Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs), Prof. Steven Bernasek, has since revealed that the school has engaged the protesting students and that the school has responded to the students via an open dialogue.

Clarifying that the student body actively participates in the college’s decision-making, he added:

“Our education model is based on the idea of ​​free exchange, and we also attach great importance to diversity and diversity. The academic community includes students, staff and teachers. Dialogues are often held on different topics. These dialogues are also conducted in different ways, from large-scale meetings to small groups and even personal communication.”


  1. I’m surprised these students have not been expelled/arrested, and made a public spectacle, to sear fear in the rest. Oh wait, too much $$$ and faces to save, at stake
    Meng C Tan your thoughts?

  2. The tiny voice of conscience in Singapore should not and must not be oppressed and suppressed by the voices of greed and materialism . Sylvia did no wrong on this aspect and PAP should stop being over-bearing and “studiously opportunistic”.

    On a separate note, I sincerely hope that the rare meeting between Trump and Kim will be a fruitful one , and that Kim will put a complete stop to his missile nuclear programme.

    • Don’t worry. Trump is already backtracking his promise of a meeting. It has been revealed that Trump setup the meeting before consulting his advisors/congress. In other words, opening his big mouth before using brain. Don’t believe me u can see suddenly the WH has set up some rules before meeting. The WH has become the joke of the world.

  3. When a poor man make noise and PAP uses SPF to suppress noise, that is CALLED OPPRESSION.
    Current bunch of PAP does not care about the ground, they care ONLY their OWN POCKET>

  4. Ha ha. Our education system mirrors pap’s political Govt system. The students pay to be indoctrinated to be docile and compliant with the Govt and get rewarded with a degree. Protest and disobedience by the students will be met with ugly responses from the Uni. Same old same old pattern.

  5. Need to teach them how to better write a letter. Who is the letter addressed to? Ah gong? Who wrote the letter? Ah ma? Why are you angry? Because a bird took a poop on your head? Why so someone meet your demands without any proper reasoning? Because you are a self-entitled prick? Come on! Yale-NUS standard so low meh?!?!

  6. Ah yes, I was wondering when this mentality would reach our shores. Students so entitled that they feel they can make demands of our institutions of higher learning. Not even very cogent demands; each of these can be simply pushed off onto some feeble gesture due to the vagueness of the letter itself.

    Let me make this plain for the people doing this protest. This has a good chance of hurting your employment prospects, no boss wants agitators, rabble rousers and troublemakers in their workplace. By simply demanding “a say” in all policies, the students are effectively asking to become part of the administration. Now if they would list several grievances that they would wish to see redressed, they would appear more rational and reasonable.

    The criticisms of the Yale-NUS partnership has indeed borne fruit. On both sides. Yale was afraid that NUS would be too traditional and NUS was afraid that Yale would teach our students to be too liberal. Can you imagine someone camping in your company’s lobby until the CEO meets his “list of demands”?

    There are many students who would thank their lucky stars to be matriculated into Yale-NUS. If the conduct of the institution disgusts you so, leave. I believe the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College are on the lookout for students. I can understand that the institution has made decisions that you are not happy about and feel that your voice is not being heard. Well, consider it a life lesson. Many working adults have to live with unpleasant decision made above them that they have to abide by and there is not a terrible lot they can do about it.

    As a student, you are ostensibly a customer. So vote with your feet and leave the college. Holding a protest only means that the college will do some worthless gesture for the sake of PR and then leave it at that. In NUS proper the role you are describing is filled by the Student’s Union, if you do not have a similar organization ask for one. If it is toothless, ask for it to be strengthened. It is simply not feasible to consult the student body for every policy change. The people who run Yale-NUS have so many IQ points per capita that they probably all rank as geniuses. They will simply devise any plebiscite they care to give you as highly advantageous to themselves. Simply put they will use “opt out” rather than “opt in” referendums (ie to defeat a motion, a majority must vote “no” not that the majority must vote “yes”) or some other similar scheme to make it look like they have consulted the students. If you think you are going to out think your administrators and faculty, think again.

    If you want to affect change you need a pretty good idea what sort of change you want to see. If you give a vague request to the other party, do not be surprised when you get back something that basically gives you nothing you actually want. At the moment you represent only a tiny sliver of students at Yale-NUS. What makes you think the administrator is going to do anything more than give you a metaphorical pat on the head? Why have you not had an organization representing the student body ratify by mass vote a list of changes you wish to see? That way you speak with the voice of the majority of students rather than a few activists trying to change an institution to suit themselves.


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