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Faculty Voice Concerns as Cornell Considers Dual Degree Program With Peking University

Faculty Voice Concerns as Cornell Considers Dual Degree Program With Peking University

“A joint degree program with Peking University creates issues of academic and personal freedom not raised by mere exchange programs or visiting students”

People around the country are already concerned about the influence of China in American higher education. Those concerns have come to Cornell University.

The College Fix reports:

Concerns raised as Cornell considers dual-degree program with China’s Peking University

As Cornell University considers establishing a dual-degree program with China’s Peking University, some are voicing concerns that the Ivy League institution should not partner with the communist regime.

In interviews with The College Fix, several members of the Cornell campus community said that the university should not lend its reputation and support to a country that engages in extreme human rights violations as well as espionage against the United States.

Peking University is based in Beijing, China’s capital.

“A joint degree program with Peking University creates issues of academic and personal freedom not raised by mere exchange programs or visiting students,” Cornell Law School Professor William Jacobson said to The College Fix in an email.

“This would be a degree to which Cornell is lending its name and credibility, and Cornell has an obligation to ensure that academic and personal freedoms are respected,” he said.

The program is being advanced by Alex Susskind, the associate dean of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Susskind presented the dual-degree program to the Faculty Senate on February 24.

Multiple professors raised concerns about academic freedom and the human rights violations occurring in China, according to the meeting’s minutes.

When asked about academic freedom for Chinese students, Susskind said, “I would prefer not to get involved in talking about these bigger picture political-cultural things.”

At a previous Faculty Senate meeting on Feb. 10, Susskind said that the prospective dual-degree program is a “very profitable venture” that would yield $1 million a year.

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Comments

NorthernNewYorker | March 23, 2021 at 1:16 pm

Hotellies don’t think like regular people.

Once the money starts flowing in from Beijing, just watch what happens when a faculty member criticizes the Chinese government. Cornell will silence dissent more harshly than the U of San Diego.

Where are the hordes of students bleating that the new venture must be scotched because it “directly threatens their feelings?”

But hey, a million dollars. So who is on the Cornell Board now — Hunter, or Doctor Evil?

There is a big difference between individual faculty members or alumni taking teaching jobs in China or consulting with a China-based university on the one hand and a formal joint degree collaboration on the other.

A university cannot conduct a degree-granting program on foreign soil without accepting local laws and standards. As an academic institution dedicated to freedom of inquiry, Cornell cannot have a degree program in China without fundamentally compromising its core principles and standards. Approving such a program might provide benefits to a few, but destroys the value of a Cornell degree for all.

As Mr. Suskind says, “Clearly, China has a slightly different government system than we do.”

Really? I didn’t know that. I thought that the difference was “slightly” bigger than “slightly.” Maybe he’s right with the way things seem to be going in Washington.

My God, what the hell are we doing?

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