Several top universities, including Cornell, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown, have not reported billions of foreign funds to US authorities, the Department of Education found.
In a 34-page report released Tuesday by the department, the names of universities such as Texas A&M, Rutgers, and the University of Maryland were edited, but other details in the report made them largely identifiable.
While it is not illegal for schools to accept funds from international sources, the report was commissioned to see if universities were adequately reporting funding to the US government.
In Cornell’s case, it was revealed that the Ithaca-based school had not disclosed $ 1.2 billion over a period of years. Over $ 750 million of that capital went to the Qatar campus, while another $ 1 million went to contracts with Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese smartphone giant.
Huawei has a rocky relationship with the Trump administration, which has placed restrictions on the telecommunications company on national security concerns due to the declining US relationship with China, where the company is based.
The espionage concerns about Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party were raised by US security and intelligence officials in 2018. When the US started sounding the alarm for the company, many US companies shut down with it.
In the report, the department stated that Cornell admitted not documenting the funding in Qatar but didn’t know why it was left out.
An MIT spokesperson, solicited by the Wall Street Journal for comment, said the school had updated its approach to how foreign gifts and contracts are reported and had been using that approach since January 2019.
The Trump administration has cracked down on higher education in the face of Chinese influence in recent months.
In August, the State Department announced that the Confucius Institutes supported by the Chinese government would have to register their US headquarters as an overseas mission.
The Confucius Institute runs 550 Chinese culture and language programs at colleges and universities, 75 of them in the United States. Last year, a Senate Intelligence Subcommittee condemned the institutes on the grounds that its funding “comes with conditions that may jeopardize academic freedom.”
In a statement made at the time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the goal was “to ensure that American educators and school administrators can make informed decisions about whether these CCP-supported programs can continue.”