American Universities Have Been Taking In A LOT of Funding From Not Particularly Friendly Foreign Nations

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos listens to a question during a student town hall at National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The great Victor Davis Hanson knows a cultural revolution when he sees one and he has no problem likening what’s going on in the streets of America today to something that seeks to “redefine [our] entire societ[y].”

Cultural revolutionaries attack the very referents of our daily lives. The Jacobins’ so-called Reign of Terror during the French Revolution slaughtered Christian clergy, renamed months and created a new supreme being, Reason.

Mao cracked down on supposed Western decadence like the wearing of eyeglasses and made peasants forge pot iron and intellectuals wear dunce caps.

Muammar Kaddafi’s Green Book cult wiped out violins and forced Libyans to raise chickens in their apartments.

The current Black Lives Matter Revolution has “canceled” certain movies, television shows and cartoons, toppled statues, tried to create new autonomous urban zones, and renamed streets and plazas. Some fanatics shave their heads. Others have shamed authorities into washing the feet of their fellow revolutionaries.

And Americans at home watching the madness unfold are left baffled by the progression of the thing ostensibly being protested, bewilderment usually manifested in the realization that people against, say, the confederacy, wouldn’t be gleefully toppling a statue of U.S. Grant, great leader of the Union Army during the Civil War, the man Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to that Spring day in the Appomattox court house.

But they are doing that, and seemingly without recognition of their mistake. So while the “protests” look something more akin to Mao’s cultural revolution, there may be a less ideological and more practical reason for that. Because the Chinese are among several countries that have been sending a lot of money to American universities.

A lot.

To the tune of previously undisclosed $6.5 billion in foreign funds “primarily” from Chinese and Middle Eastern sources, and another $1 billion overall in anonymous foreign funding to American higher education institutions.

An Education Department investigation unearthed $1 billion in anonymous foreign funding on campuses nationwide and discovered a school with direct contracts with the Chinese Communist Party, leading to reforms instituted Monday.

The broad, yearlong inquiry into foreign funding on campus was launched in 2019, and since July of last year, U.S. colleges and universities have reported $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign gifts and contracts, according to a press release which added that institutions have “anonymized” the identities of the donors of at least $1.14 billion in foreign funds flowing in from China, Russia, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Under polarizing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the agency is completing the yearlong investigation and creating a portal to make it easier for higher education institutes to report (required by law) their foreign financial entanglements.

Last year, the DOE announced investigations into foreign funding at Georgetown University, Texas A&M University, Cornell University, Rutgers, MIT , University of Maryland, Harvard, Yale, the University of Texas, and Case Western Reserve University.

According to the Washington Examiner, China is one of the main culprits.

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Sen. Rob Portman, released a 109-page bipartisan report in November concluding foreign countries “seek to exploit America’s openness to advance their own national interests” and “the most aggressive of them has been China.” It found China used its Thousand Talents Program, which seeks to recruit academics to gain access to proprietary information, for the past two decades to exploit access to U.S. research labs and academic institutions. “China unfairly uses the American research and expertise it obtains for its own economic and military gain,” they said, criticizing the federal government’s failure to combat the problem.

The subcommittee released an initial report in February 2019 warning about foreign funding and Chinese influence both in K-12 classrooms and university campuses nationwide, noting that “foreign government spending on U.S. schools is effectively a black hole.”

So when the protests and statue toppling starts to look confusing, and you start to get the distinct impression it’s a protest against the West in general and the U.S. in particular, listen to that instinct.



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