As the creator of the Hong Kong posters, I was heartened to see the Yale-NUS administration stand up for free expression on campus, and I was impressed that some members of the staff immediately went to talk to the Office of Housing Services, and inform OHS that they are not allowed to remove student posters. However, it is concerning that later, many Yale-NUS administrators dismissed the situation as a “misunderstanding.” Censorship is serious, and words like ‘misunderstanding’ don’t convey the gravity of what it is—a stifling of discussion and debate. Yes, Yale-NUS didn’t, and doesn’t endorse censorship. But even if it is true that only one NUS employee acted alone, or misunderstood a directive, the act of censorship is still censorship. The fact is simple, an OHS employee practised censorship when the posters were removed. Until NUS Campus Security and the Office of Housing Services stop removing student posters, there will still be censorship, no matter what the departments’ official positions on the matter are. If Yale-NUS is to have strong leadership on free expression, it has to start with recognising censorship for what it is.
—Matthew Ware ’18
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