Two more universities are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education for potentially concealing foreign gifts from the federal government, The Associated Press reported.
Cornell University and Rutgers University have been accused of receiving foreign funds, particularly from China and Qatar, and not disclosing them to the Education Department.
Letters obtained by The Associated Press reveal that both schools are now being asked to disclose financial records from previous years.
Members of the Trump administration have been alarmed by China’s influence on higher education institutes across the country after a report 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.
Last month, in a similar move, the Education Department opened an investigation against Georgetown University and Texas A&M University for receiving foreign funds from Gulf nations, including a Russian cybersecurity company, the Kaspersky Lab.
Qatar has donated more than $1.4 billion to 28 schools across the nation over the past decade, with 98 percent going to six schools including Cornell, according to an analysis of federal education data by The Associated Press. Cornell also has a campus in Qatar which was established in 2001.
“On July 3, Cornell University received a letter from the Department of Education, requesting records related to previously submitted federally required reports,” John Carberry, a spokesperson for Cornell, told The Cornell Daily Sun. “Cornell takes our reporting requirements seriously. We are currently reviewing the request and plan to fully cooperate with federal officials in this effort.”
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. The university also asked four postdoctoral students working in the lab to leave the country within 30 days.