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Harvard, Yale Probed for Unreported Foreign Funding

Harvard, Yale Probed for Unreported Foreign Funding”

A common thread in the investigations is questions about funding from China. The arrest last month of the chairman of Harvard's chemistry department on federal charges of lying about receiving millions of dollars in Chinese funding through the program while the US shelled out more than $15 million to fund his research group catapulted the issue into the spotlight.

The department said Wednesday it is reviewing whether the Ivy League schools potentially failed to report hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts and donations from countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar and China. The department, also in a letter Tuesday to the university, sought records regarding contributions from Saudi Arabia, China and its telecom giants, Peking University's Yenching Academy, the National University of Singapore, Qatar and others.

The Education Department could refer the matter to the Justice Department if the schools don't disclose the requested information, the newspaper said.

"Dr. Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard University's Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, was indicted for lying about his involvement with the Chinese government's Thousand Talents Plan and admitting that Harvard lacks adequate institutional controls for effective oversight and tracking of very large donations", the DOE said.

A tour group takes shelter from the rain while they go on a tour of Harvard's campus.

It added that the department is "concerned" that Yale's reporting "may not fully capture all gifts, contracts, and/or restricted and conditional gifts or contracts from or with all foreign sources".

The department accused Yale of failing to disclose at least $375 million in foreign funding from 2014 to 2017, when the school filed no disclosure forms.

Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart said the university is reviewing the request and preparing to respond. The letters were posted on the Education Department's website.

"We will continue to hold colleges and universities accountable and work with them to ensure their reporting is full, accurate, and transparent, as required by the law", Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said.

In addition, while the department said it has found foreign money generally flows to the country's richest universities, "such money apparently does not reduce or otherwise offset American students' tuition costs", the document said. "Moreover, it is what the law requires".

"Unfortunately, the more we dig, the more we find that too many are underreporting or not reporting at all", she said.

Section 117 of the Higher Education Act requires American Title IV-eligible colleges and universities to report gifts from, and contracts with, any foreign source that exceed $250,000 in value and to disclose any foreign ownership or control, twice each year. Since July 2019, colleges and universities have reported about $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign money, the agency said.

In a November letter, the department told Senator Rob Portman, chairman of the US Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, that it had concerns that many universities use "financially opaque captive foundations, foreign campuses, and other structures to generate revenue, including from foreign sources".

The two university, and by extension all Ivy League schools, are accused of vigorously soliciting funds from foreign governments, companies and individuals who are openly hostile to the USA and looking to steal classified research and "spread propaganda benefiting foreign governments", according to the DOE report.

On Tuesday, Republican Senator Rob Portman of OH and Tom Carper, a Democrat from DE, released a joint statement calling on American universities to be more transparent about their ties with foreign governments.



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