U.S. colleges report fewer foreign gifts after Biden takes office, sparking concern from Rep Gallagher

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Questions an almost $ 1.5 billion decrease in foreign gifts reported to U.S. colleges and universities since President Biden took office.

The Department of Education (DOE) in 2019 and 2020 started crack down on the acceptance by schools of foreign gifts under Article 117 of the Higher Education Act with the aim of tracking the reach of foreign money from countries like China and Qatar into the American education system.

Gallagher noted in a letter Wednesday to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona that between July 1, 2020 and January 20, 2021, U.S. schools reported $ 1.6 billion in foreign gifts. As of Jan. 20, however, schools have reported just $ 4.3 million in donations over a longer period.

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“Since Biden took office on Jan.20, the number of reported foreign gifts has dropped absolutely,” Gallagher told Fox News Digital.

“US universities have reported just over $ 4 million in donations. That’s a small number. The calculations don’t match. And to make matters worse, it appears the Biden administration hasn’t launched a single one. new investigation into foreign funding at universities. So in my mind that leaves us with two scenarios: either the taps for foreign gifts have been turned off or the Biden administration is giving universities a pass, directly violating the federal law and in doing so, allowing the Chinese Communist Party to freely influence American university without any transparency. “

Representative Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Left, a former Marine, speaks during a panel discussion. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

Gallagher’s own alma mater, Georgetown University, accepted a $ 10 million donation from Chinese group Charoen Pokphand (CP) in January 2016, which aimed to establish the Initiative for US-Chinese Dialogue on Global Issues, an institution for “the culture of shared approaches to issues… all over the world”.

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In his letter, the congressman alleges that foreign money “often creates financial incentives for universities to act in the political interest of opposing foreign governments” such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He pointed out China Confucius Institutes, CCP-funded education programs that were not uncommon in American schools before 2020, for example.

Undergraduate student Moe Lewis, left, shows off her watercolor painting of peony leaves during a traditional Chinese painting class at the Confucius Institute at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., On May 2, 2018 (AP Photo / Matthew Pennington)

Undergraduate student Moe Lewis, left, shows off her watercolor painting of peony leaves during a traditional Chinese painting class at the Confucius Institute at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., On May 2, 2018 (AP Photo / Matthew Pennington)

As of September 9, there were only 36 Confucius Institutes with partnerships in American schools, including eight that are preparing to close, according to the National Association of Scientists. That’s down from more than 100 in 2017, but the NAS suggests ending these partnerships doesn’t completely solve the problem as similar programs appear under new names.

The CCP-funded program quietly announced in July that it was changing the name of the headquarters of its institutes from Confucius, Hanban, to the Center for Language Education and Cooperation. The party-led Global Times first reported this move, noting that it “would disperse the Western misunderstanding that the organization has served as an ideological marketing machine for China.”

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Gallagher asked Cardona three questions in his letter: Has the DOE reinterpreted Section 117 or provided new guidance to higher education institutions on thresholds for reporting gifts, and is this information publicly available? ? Has the DOE opened any new investigations into Chinese money or other foreign currencies since January 20? Confucius Institutes that have “renamed” themselves under a new name worry the department in terms of campaigns for foreign influence and academic freedom on campuses.

Miguel Cardona speaks after President-elect Joe Biden announced him as his candidate for Secretary of Education at the Queen Theater on December 23, 2020 in Wilmington, Del.  (Photo by Joshua Roberts / Getty Images)

Miguel Cardona speaks after President-elect Joe Biden announced him as his candidate for Secretary of Education at the Queen Theater on December 23, 2020 in Wilmington, Del. (Photo by Joshua Roberts / Getty Images)

“I think the most misunderstood aspect of our competition with China is how the Chinese Communist Party uses the United Front to work [Department] in order to influence diaspora populations around the world, ”said Gallagher.

“The American people directly… it goes back to the founding of the party it’s encoded in. And it’s just my observation that we have a poor understanding of how they operate in this space, and I think American universities are one of the softest targets for the work of the Chinese United Front. “

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He added that he believes China’s influence on American schools is “partly an ideological competition” that many people ignore and that American leaders “need to be more vigilant to protect themselves against the United Front of the United States. China”.

He also believes that the ability of the United States “to win this competition with the CCP is going to come down to whether our best and brightest in America are dedicated to winning this competition, and it is our university system, which is. supposed to cultivate this next time. generation of Americans who will help us win this competition. ”

Instead, some students and teachers have expressed concerns about the lack of free speech and “a hostile environment” on college campuses, Gallagher said.

The DOE did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

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