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Education Department Investigating Alleged China Funding to the University of Alabama

Published: December 28, 2020
The University of Alabama pictured in 2017. (Image: Jim Bauer via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0)
The University of Alabama pictured in 2017. (Image: Jim Bauer via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0)

On Dec. 22, the Department of Education sent a letter to the University of Alabama (UA) requesting records of all of its contracts, gifts, or donation agreements with China-funded companies and institutions. 

Firms and organizations on the Education Department’s list include Huawei Technologies, Chengdu Technological University, and Jilin University.

The Department’s letter to UA referenced the Higher Education Act of 1965, which states that institutions of higher education are required to report any gifts or contracts “from or with a foreign source.”

The development comes amidst reports of potential ties between the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WVI) and the University of Alabama (UA).

The university looked into the matter by reviewing “any possible related institutional records to determine the basis for the reference” and found “no ties between the UA and WVI, and no reason for the UA to be listed on the website,” according to their email response to The Epoch Times, which had reported the alleged links.

UA officials reached out to the WVI to ask why UA was listed on their website, and requested the reference to be removed, but the WVI never responded.

According to a recent investigation by the Department of Education, universities across the United States were found to have failed to report $6.5 billion in foreign gifts and contacts. 

The department’s historical figures and recent online figures also found that of the $19.6 billion in foreign gifts and contracts reported by universities between 2014 to 2020, nearly $1.5 billion was from China, over $1.1 billion from Saudi Arabia, and just under $3.1 billion was from Qatar.

Most of this funding went to the largest and most prestigious universities in the U.S., which also received billions of dollars through a bevy of foreign intermediaries, according to the Oct. 20 report.

By Yonah W.

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