Letter to the Editors
I refer to the article, “Behind the scenes: organising controversial events at Yale-NUS”. The article states that Public Affairs was responsible for the challenges the event organisers faced in confirming the venue and format of some of the recent events on campus. In particular, Public Affairs supposedly denied the organisers’ request to open up the Skype discussion with Joshua Wong to NUS students and was responsible for venue decisions. This is not accurate.
As mentioned in our reply to Ms Bae, one of Public Affairs’ key roles is to provide advice on publicity and events management for the College when we are approached. These include events organised by students, faculty or staff, e.g. when student groups invite VIPs and need advice on protocol matters. When approached, Public Affairs will advise and can also work with event organisers to shape the events further, but final decisions are made by the event organisers. If necessary, we also work with the event organisers to prepare replies in case the College receives public or media queries. For events such as the Rectors’ Teas, the decisions on the location and event format, such as the composition of the audience, scope and programme duration are made by the Rectors. Public Affairs is not in a position to approve or disallow the use of space on campus.
Valerie Yeo, Senior Associate Director of Public Affairs, Yale-NUS College.