Of Deans & Dictators

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment


College professors love to talk about how vital their work is in a democracy but some high-profile administrators have actively sought and received donations from rulers in one-party states without a peep of protest from their star faculty members.

In the March 25, 2011 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott Carlson provides examples of higher education’s partnership with some very dubious regimes:

“Human Rights Watch, for example, is raising questions about the millions of dollars that American University received from Nigeria’s vice president between 2003 and 2007 for consulting in that country. The official, Atiku Abubakar, has been implicated in money-laundering schemes”;

“Some colleges have been particularly successful at raising money from the region—like Georgetown University, which has received $165-million over the past 10 years, according to government figures, about a quarter of all Mideast money going to U. S. higher education. The university has significant programs in Muslim and Arab studies, with officials of Middle East countries acting as advisers and instructors, including Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saud, a former director of foreign intelligence for Saudi Arabia”;

“A public relations firm founded by Harvard professors had also been paid by Colonel Qaddafi to hire prominent academics—among them Benjamin R. Barber and Anthony Giddens—to help reform the public image of the regime and its volatile leader”; and

“At the University of Arkansas’s King Fahd Center for Middle East & Islamic Studies, Joel Gordon, the director, says he doesn’t even know who wrote the $20 million check in the mid-1990s to develop the program. (Bill Clinton, while still governor of the state, first courted the Saudi royals in 1991 but the Saudis did not make a big donation until after Mr. Clinton was elected president.)”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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