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Wesleyan University Abandons Plan to Open Campus in China

Wesleyan University has called off its plans to start a joint venture campus in China after its initial assessment pointed at the difference in goals, The Associated Press reported.

A private liberal arts college in Connecticut, the school was invited by major Chinese corporation Hengdian Group and the Shanghai Theatre Academy in February to open a college in Zhejiang, China.

Earlier this month, the University President Michael Roth had written in a blog that talks with the partners were “in the very early stages” but in a campus-wide email on Thursday, he announced abandoning his plans altogether citing various reasons.

“Further conversations with those who proposed the partnership have made it clear that our respective goals could not be sufficiently aligned — not to mention the questions we had around issues of academic freedom and the implications for our home campus,” Roth wrote in the email.

The probable partnership was also a point of contention between the school and a group of its students. On October 11, dozens of students organized a rally on campus in solidarity with Hong Kong protesters, who also urged the school leadership to drop its plans to establish a joint venture in China.

“We must also show firm opposition against the proposal for Wesleyan to partner with a large corporation affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party in building a campus in China. If Wesleyan is serious about upholding its values as a progressive institution, it must not fall into complicity with the forces of authoritarianism, exploitation, and colonialism,” Joy Ming King one of the rally organizers wrote on his Facebook.

The Wesleyan Student Assembly had also passed a resolution seeking full disclosure of the potential Wesleyan Hengdian campus.

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