Phi Beta Cons

Yale’s Singapore Campus Generates Backlash

Christopher L. Miller, an openly gay Yale professor, has written an op-ed decrying the university’s decision to open a partner-university with the National University of Singapore. In Singapore, homosexuality is illegal. Miller also raises objections on the basis of likely restraints on free speech and academic freedom. In his essay, entitled “Yale’s principles for sale,” he asks a very good question about the hypocrisy of Yale’s having refused to allow ROTC on campus for the last several decades, supposedly over concerns about gay rights in the military:

Faced with the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, the Yale Law School maintained an uncompromising moral stance, refusing complicity until the policy was abolished. The undergraduate community could not tolerate the return of ROTC to campus until the discriminatory policy had been revoked. Where are the principles of the larger institution now?

Miller also mentions how Yale rolled out the red carpet for China’s Hu Jintao a few years ago:

Before a hand-picked audience, President Hu was welcomed and praised by President Levin. He spoke. He answered two chosen, soft-ball questions, “submitted in advance in writing” and selected by Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico and head of Yale’s Center for the Study of Globalization. Head of an authoritarian, free speech-constricting government, Hu must have felt right at home. . . .

This was a travesty of free speech, perpetrated by a university that should have nothing to do with such charades. (Soon thereafter, it was announced that Yale would be the first American university allowed to buy securities in the Chinese market.) This precedent should cause the Yale community to take the administration’s assurances about academic freedom in Singapore with a grain of salt. Yale’s principles are clearly for sale.

This latter critique sounds very familiar – almost as if it were cribbed directly from the pages of Phi Beta Cons. Is it possible that one of Yale’s famously liberal professors is secretly reading NRO behind closed doors?

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