Weekly Update [Week 10]: Latin Honours policy, CIPE survey

This week’s update comes a little later than usual as the Council rescheduled its weekly meeting to 28 Mar (Mon) on account of the Good Friday public holiday last week.

Project Updates

From Student Life, the mascot selection process continued as planned with the Mascot Public Debate on 23 Mar (Wed) allowing members of the community to bring up arguments for/ against the top three mascot options. Round 2 of voting (tinyurl.com/yncmascotvoting2) opened on 24 Mar (Thu), and closes tonight (29 Mar, Tue, 11.59pm). Looking forward, ratification for the top mascot choice will be held next week from 5-7 Apr (Tue-Thu).

From Academics, there was much discussion amongst the student body about the Latin Honours policy which was recently announced on 24 Mar. Concerns raised by students included the potential impact the policy would have on academic culture in the school, ramifications for employability, and lack of fairness across majors. These concerns and others were summarised in an open letter written by some members of the student body, and was co-signed by 175 students (as of 29 Mar).

In response to the strong sentiments from the student body, the Student Government reached out to the Senior Administration to request a Town Hall, during which student concerns could be addressed and the rationale for certain specifics of the policy could be clarified. Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs) Tan Tai Yong was open to having a dialogue on this issue with the student body, but expressed that the earliest possible date to hold the Town Hall was the week of 11 Apr (Week 13).

The Student Government will be meeting him on 31 Mar (Thu) (this meeting was scheduled 3 weeks ago) and will clarify the administration’s rationale for the policy, advocate student concerns, and have them addressed. A report of the meeting will be published to the student body.

In the meantime, feedback on the policy can continue to be submitted at http://goo.gl/forms/Dv4LwjiVml.

Also from Academics, the focus group discussions held during lunchtime from Monday to Thursday of last week regarding Science in the Common Curriculum allowed us to glean valuable insights into students’ thoughts and suggestions. We are in the process of collating all the feedback from the discussions, and will be presenting them to the faculty committee working on redeveloping the Science Common Curriculum.

Moving on from Academics, after receiving individual feedback from students, the Student Government is collating a comprehensive survey of student satisfaction with and concerns on CIPE. The responses from this survey will be collated and presented to CIPE.

The survey will be open until the end of the week, and can be accessed here: http://goo.gl/forms/kjT35Dswrj

From Events, the Student Government will be co-hosting together with The G Spot a closed-door dialogue & dinner session with Ambassador Chan Heng Chee on 30 Mar (Wed), 5pm. The dialogue will centre around the recent debate regarding Singapore’s human rights approach and record, as well as her dual roles as Ambassador for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Yale-NUS Governing Board member. More details about the event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1703425683233731/

The Directors of the Council have collectively decided to discontinue their Office Hour slots due to low turnout. Should you wish to contact any Director to raise a specific concern, their contact details can be found here: http://studentgov.commons.yale-nus.edu.sg/about-us-2/. Feedback can also be submitted via our feedback form (http://studentgov.commons.yale-nus.edu.sg/give-us-feedback/) or via email (yncstudentgov@gmail.com).

Finally, the Judiciary is seeking to identify the plaintiff of an anonymous suit which was filed recently, as anonymous submissions cannot proceed to a hearing. More details on this can be found here: http://studentgov.commons.yale-nus.edu.sg/2016/03/26/judiciary-announcement/

Summary of Weekly Meeting

In the weekly meeting on Monday (28 Mar), the Council members declared their conflicts of interest, which the Speaker will take note of for voting decisions. Regarding feedback on the Latin Honours policy, a general memo will be released by the administration and a Town Hall organised by the administration in the week of April 11. Regina and Scott shared about their meeting with President Lewis on the issue.

A survey on CIPE was released on Monday to collect comprehensive feedback, in response to anecdotal feedback. Regarding the persistent issue of lifts, an email will be sent to Kristen Lynas to find out about what the policies are to provide for students which may face physical disabilities.

It was considered by the Council whether or not the mascot voting percentage pass should be 50%, with points made by Dave against the notion, and other Council members providing other points of clarification. Eventually, the motion to open discussions to reconsider the mascot voting percentage pass for ratification failed.

The Council also had a brief discussion regarding Dean Bridges and Ken Panko seeking student input on graduation and ERT.

Read a more detailed account of the meeting here: Weekly Meeting Minutes (28 March 2016)

Final Thoughts

While the Student Government has been hard at work pushing out our various initiatives and projects, we would also like to take the time to acknowledge and thank the student body for their continual support and active participation in our surveys, focus group discussions, and events. As members of the pioneer batches of Yale-NUS College, we have the rare opportunity of having our actions impact not just our experience in the school, but also that of future generations of students. Active involvement in building our school’s culture and systems is thus something which we hope every student will undertake – be it through voting for preferred mascot choices, submitting feedback and suggestions, or supporting our projects – and we look forward to continuing to be a representative voice for the student body.


Joceline Yong
Director of External Communications

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