Story | Ryan Yeo (he/him/his), Managing Editor
Photo | Martin Choo (he/him/his)
At around 1:30 pm today, students from Yale-NUS College, the University Scholars Programme, and members of the wider NUS community released a petition to reject the recent merger decisions of several NUS colleges, with the slogan “#NoMoreTopDown.”
In the petition, the students declared: “We reject the National University of Singapore’s recent merger decisions. Inexcusably, the affected parties were only informed after the decisions were made.”
The petition is hosted on Change.org, and contains a link to a longer document detailing the students’ full demands.
The petition addressed three mergers involving six colleges: merging the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Faculty of Science to form the College of Humanities and Sciences, merging the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Design and Environment to form the College of Design and Engineering, and merging the University Scholars Programme and Yale-NUS College to form the New College.
The petition called for the rejection of the mergers on three main grounds: first, that the mergers “lack transparency and fail to meaningfully involve the affected stakeholders in the decision-making process”; second, that the merger is “ineffective” in achieving the goal of interdisciplinary education; and third, that the mergers were indicative of a failure to “ensure the welfare of both students and staff.”
The petition then listed four main demands towards NUS.
It first called on NUS to “reverse the New College and CDE mergers and reconsider the CHS merger in line with comprehensive student and staff input.”
Second, the petition demanded that NUS “ensure that all relevant bodies are centered in NUS policy discussions.”
Third, the petition called for “greater agency over their academic programmes” for students and staff.
Finally, the petition demanded a “review [of] gaps in NUS’s current framework for student and staff welfare.”
Upon the petition’s release, messages were circulated internally within the NUS community’s Telegram and Facebook groups. The hashtag #NoMoreTopDown also began to surface in these groups, referring to the petition’s slogan.
“The petition is jointly written by, and therefore reflects, the concerns of students across NUS,” wrote one student. The student then encouraged the community to share and sign the petition against the “unaccountable, impractical and harmful” mergers.
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of the article stated that the petition described the merger’s goal of interdisciplinary education as “ineffective.” In fact, the petition described the merger as “ineffective” in achieving the goal of interdisciplinary education.