Government Accountability Office visits UO on tour of Confucius Institutes

The GAO is basically Congress’s audit division. Congress asked them to look into the Chinese government supported Confucius Institutes. About 100 US colleges, including UO, have these. The GAO asked to meet with CI administrators and a selection of faculty. They also scheduled a 30 minute meeting with me, as Senate Pres, to ask about the potential for interference in academic freedom, what procedures the Senate had in place to safeguard this, and any examples of violations I might know of at UO.

I explained what I knew – namely that UO’s CI was mostly under the control of UO faculty, that it did not teach regular classes or have any influence over faculty hiring, and that while it seemed clear that our faculty were not going to ask the CI to pay for research on things that the Chinese government might get angry about, such as the suppression of Falun Gong, ethnic cleansing in Tibet, or the general lack of civil rights in China, and that while Chinese students have told me they believe their government spies on them while they are in the US, I had no reason to believe that UO’s CI had attempted to suppress such research at UO, or had engaged in such spying at UO.

The only odd part of the meeting, in retrospect, was that the three GAO reps were accompanied throughout by UO VP for International Affairs Dennis Galvan and AVP for Federal Affairs Betsy Boyd. I’d have thought that the GAO would have insisted on meeting privately with faculty on something like this. While I didn’t have any punches to pull, I can imagine that some of the other faculty might have been reluctant to say some things under these circumstances.

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7 Responses to Government Accountability Office visits UO on tour of Confucius Institutes

  1. Anonymous says:

    How naive you are:
    1) About the Chinese government’s motives, reach, and tradecraft;
    and
    2) The competence and care of our own government auditors.

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  2. Hippo says:

    Confucius Institute is year another UO fiefdom in which dukes or duchesses may distribute monies to their cronies. The twist is a little added propaganda and spying for PRC. But, you know, who doesn’t need some walking around money in their pocket?

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    • trumplackey says:

      Perhaps I’m naive, but what could possibly be going on at UO that would merit spying by the Chinese government? Can we expect an imminent shakeup at Panda Express?

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      • uomatters says:

        I’d pay 2x to have Kung Fu Bistro take over that space, but then I’m not borrowing money to go to college.

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  3. Dr. Galvan really needed this program because unlike his Gabon hustle, the checks will cash.

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    • uomatters says:

      So far as I know it was John Manotti, Richard Lariviere, and Eric Benjaminson who set up the “Twin Edens” scheme with Ali Bongo. Dennis came in towards the end, and was much more transparent than they’d been, not that it was high bar.

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      • Negatron says:

        History seems to have been revised. I wonder if he took credit for something he didn’t do or placed blame for something he did do?

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