Harvard and Yale have landed in hot water after the US Department of Education discovered that they had not fully disclosed the foreign funding received from the arch rival, China, and the partially disowned Saudi Arabia.
The BBC reported that, the US Department of Education had said that the top-tier elite schools did not report hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign gifts and contracts, which they should lawfully have. The covert funding is suspected to have came from sources in China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other countries.
It is estimated that China alone has bestowed favors amounting over $1 billion on US schools, and Harvard has been the most favored receiver, with close to $94 million in gifts and contracts from sources in mainland China.
The US law requires universities to report all gifts and contracts received from foreign sources that exceed the set limit of $250,000 (£193,000). And considering, that both renowned schools have been graciously accepting gifts far-out of the set limit, it isn’t shocking to know that the Education Department has decided to clamp down on the two.
As per report since July, the Department of Education had uncovered close to $6.6bn in previously unreported gifts from countries including Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The officials said that the figure could be “significantly underestimated”.
The Department has continuously been wary foreign spending on US universities. Some have even called the foreign funding a “black hole” as it could come with come with “strings attached”.
The BBC quoted US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, “this is about transparency. If colleges and universities are accepting foreign money and gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know how much and from whom.”
She further added, “unfortunately, the more we dig, the more we find that too many are underreporting or not reporting at all.”
The U.S. authorities had started expressing concern over Chinese intelligence and involvement in their universities. The constant influx of Chinese students has begun threatening not only the U.S. but also renowned institutions like Oxford University, UK has also stopped accepting research funding from Chinese tech-giant Huawei telecommunications.
February seems to be the month of constant upheaval for Harvard. Early on in the month, the chairman of Harvard’s chemistry department and two other Chinese researchers were charged for coluding with the China and making false statements about their ties with the country.
It has also been reported that, the Department of Education said, Yale University had not reported any foreign funding over the last four years, and is suspected of accepting at least $375m in foreign gifts and contracts.
As per news reports, in letters to the Ivy League universities, the Department of Education had asked them to provide the names and addresses of foreign sources involved in contracts and gifts, and disclose all activities supported by the funding since August 2013.
“Harvard was asked to disclose records involving the governments of China, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as companies including Chinese technology giant Huawei,” Stated the BBC.
Yale too was asked to disclose similar information about foreign funding and contributions.
However, Yale and Harvard both decided to not comment on the matter, and informed the credible, international news sources, that they were preparing an apt response to the allegations.