Many higher education institutions across the nation are rallying behind Chinese students and researchers who have been at the center of aggressive investigations by federal agencies.
Recently, more than twelve colleges and universities have issued statements against the so-called witch-hunt.
Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels wrote a letter to the community members expressing his concern over the threats to the international exchange of ideas and people.
“When any members of our community unfairly bear the burden of government mistrust simply by virtue of their place of birth, country of residence, or ethnicity, we risk undermining the core tenets of our success as an institution and as a nation,” Daniels wrote.
University of Pittsburg Chancellor Patrick Gallagher lamented the “unprecedented” scrutiny of collaborations between scientists from other countries specifically pointing out China.
“This long-standing tradition of global academic engagement is increasingly under attack,” Gallagher wrote.
“Rising geopolitical tensions over economic competitiveness, trade and national security have begun to erode support for the robust global academic engagement that we have long enjoyed.”
Gallagher counted the contributions made by various international and Chinese scholars and said that such collaborations are the “oxygen” for school’s vibrant and rich academic environment.
He also pitched for upholding laws that govern research, innovation, and international partnerships while urging federal agencies to take “sensible” and “clear” actions that don’t unnecessary disrupt and harm the research universities.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Education is investigation four universities, including Cornell University and Rutgers University. They have been accused of receiving foreign funds, particularly from China and Qatar, and not disclosing them to the Education Department.
In May, Emory University fired two of its professors for failing to disclose funding from and ties to Chinese institutions. The school shut down their laboratory after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) flagged their financial ties with Chinese institutions.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University presidents have also expressed concern over the U.S. government’s scrutiny and stigmatization of faculty members, post-docs, research staff and students of Chinese descent.
Earlier this year, a report published by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that the Chinese government spent more than $150 million on the institutes over the last decade to limit criticism of its political policies in America. It also found that Chinese institutes were threatening academic freedom by having access to the American educational system.
China Issues Warnings to Students Studying Abroad at U.S. Institutions