American campuses usually have many student groups devoted to social justice issues and human rights matters.

Typically, the activists within these groups would like to export their sensibilities.  However, in “The College Fix”, Northwestern University student Alex Jakubowski reports that Yale has a new partner that doesn’t promote personal freedoms the quite same way as the American institution might:

More than a year ago Yale University announced that it would partner with the National University of Singapore to produce a campus offering Yale’s prestigious liberal-arts tradition to students in one of Southeast Asia’s cultural and economic hubs. While the institution, according to the YaleNUS College website, is “reinventing liberal-arts education from the ground up,” in reality the new campus and its inaugural students will be subject to a vast set of barriers to political and academic freedom.

Though Singapore is most certainly the region’s wealthiest nation per capita (the World Bank stated their PPP at $59,711 in 2011 and the Boston Consulting Group estimated that 17% of households belong to millionaires), the small city-state’s history has been filled with political unrest and a questionable human-rights record.

The quads in New Haven are constantly filled with political debate. In Singapore, however, at the first new venture to use the Yale name in more than 300 years, students will be prohibited from expressing many of the freedoms enjoyed by their Connecticut counterparts. The prohibitions will include creating political parties, joining or forming partisan political societies on campus, and staging protests.

Despite counterarguments that the students on the Singapore campus will  have substantial opportunity for political debate and engagement, Jakubowski reports critics are still deeply concerned:

Nevertheless, in a resolution passed last April by Yale’s faculty, dozens of Yale professors decried Yale’s partnership with a country that possesses a history of “a lack of respect for civil and political rights.” The resolution further emphasized a need for Yale to fight for principles of non-discrimination for all, particularly against “sexual minorities and migrant workers,” two groups against whom Singapore’s government continues to persecute. Kenneth Marcus, President and General Counsel at the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, also suggests that “Yale’s Singapore venture is truly perplexing, not only because of the country’s poor record on freedom of speech, but also because of its abysmal record on political rights and the freedom of gays and lesbians.”