Colleges stonewall feds on China records
- The Department of Education says colleges are blocking attempts to obtain documents pertaining to foreign gifts.
- Among the countries from which the colleges have received money are China, Russia, and Iran.
The U.S. Department of Education launched a federal investigation into Harvard and Yale Universities in February regarding alleged undisclosed foreign gifts, including ones from China, but the department has yet to receive all of the documents it requested from the Ivy League institutions in order to conduct a thorough a complete probe.
In a letter obtained by Campus Reform, Principal Deputy General Counsel Reed Rubinstein writes to eight of the members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that the institutions in question are attempting to stonewall administration in its attempt to obtain what it sees as relevant documents pertaining to the alleged foreign interference in the American higher education system.
Noting that the colleges "claimed Freedom of Information Act exemptions and legal privileges to block record production to Congress," the letter says that "the Department has yet to receive critical information needed to confirm the accuracy of previously submitted...reports."
"Certain institutions have yet to produce requested emails, metadata, and other information regarding business relationships with, and faculty funding from, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Russian foreign sources," the letter continues. "The Department is negotiating for this important information and hopes to have access to all relevant records (and witness interviews, if appropriate) in the near term."
However, the department is not ruling out taking legal action against the universities if they do not comply with the requests.
"The Department is evaluating its available statutory and regulatory options if negotiations and compromise fail....[W]e are consulting with the U.S. Department of Justice and others to explore all potential pathways for full and fair disclosure of IHE foreign funding."
Just since February, the Education Department has launched investigations into three major universities - Harvard, Yale, and the University of Texas - for their alleged undisclosed foreign ties. The Education Department asked Harvard and Yale in February to disclose any funding they may have received from China, Iran, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Records pertaining to the University of Texas' ties to a Wuhan biolab were requested by the federal government in April, as Campus Reform also reported.
Harvard, Yale, and the University of Texas did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
Other elite colleges, such as the University of Maryland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Cornell, Texas A&M, and Georgetown University, have also been investigated in the past year alone over their disclosure of foreign gifts.