The Truth is Powerful

Cornell faculty and students opposed to a proposed collaboration between the university and China’s Peking University want an overhaul of the process for approving international dual-degree programs.

Members of the Faculty Senate and Student Assembly at Cornell University voted separately last week to formally oppose a proposed dual-degree program involving Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University (PKU), in Beijing.

Members of Cornell’s Faculty Senate voted to oppose the proposed dual-degree program with PKU by a 39 to 16 margin, with 20 senators abstaining. Another 51 senators did not participate in the vote, which is advisory and not binding.

The main concerns voiced by faculty were focused on the severe constraints on academic freedom in China and the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority group. A U.S. State Department report on human rights practices globally released last week described the perpetration of “genocide and crimes against humanity” against Uighurs and other members of ethnic minority religious groups — including “the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians” — in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

“The rapid deterioration in human rights in the People’s Republic and Xinjiang was a major concern of the faculty,” said Richard Bensel, a professor of government who opposes the partnership.

The vote by Cornell’s Faculty Senate to oppose […]

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