letter Aaron Kurzak ’17
The PANOPT editors have done an excellent public service in publishing Mr. Richardson’s article. The controversies arising from its frank statements highlight the fact that the author has succeeded as a journalist of a true STUDENT publication by feeling the pulse of our community and diagnosing an issue that lies at its very heart. This gives us the opportunity to engage in an respectful debate, not one cloaked by anonymity. In honour of our liberal arts education, we must value the eccentric opinion of any individual as a means of continuously questioning our own beliefs.
To this end, I would like to introduce an even more radical idea than simply triumphing in the IFGs to remind NUS of our independence: as a collective, we have the power to make an unmistakable statement by boycotting the IFGs. As much pleasure as participation would give us from a sportsman’s perspective, it triggers off a chain of tacit consent to being considered a NUS faculty. We can quell this problem especially in the field of sports, where our “institutional identity” is shaped most transparently. To fully achieve our aspirations as a unique, trailblazing community, we must safeguard our institution in full independence. Today, Yale-NUS is in those most critical first stages, about which Tocqueville writes: “Peoples always bear some marks of their origin. Circumstances of birth and growth affect all the rest of their careers”. In this sense, our affiliation with NUS and its distinct–old– structures must not be “parental” if we want to develop our very own character and culture.
We should regard NUS as an architect of our school’s foundations, who now hands down proprietorship to us, the staff and students of Yale-NUS.