Bryant University to discontinue Confucius Institute affiliation

Bryant University photo via Kenneth C Zirkel/Wikipedia Commons


(WPRO) Bryant University in Smithfield will end its relationship with the Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-funded program that has come under increased scrutiny by intelligence agencies in the United States, according to an email from the university’s President and Vice President for International Affairs to faculty and students obtained by WPRO’s Gene Valicenti on Monday.

“After 15 years of valued language and cultural programs provided through the Confucius Institute at Bryant University, we have chosen not to apply for continued funding at the expiration of the Confucius Institute contract. The University will evaluate changes that are taking place in China and regarding U.S.-China relations before making any future commitments,” read the letter in part.

Valcienti confirmed the content of the email with Bryant president Ross Gittell.

Bryant maintains a campus in the Chinese city of Zhuhai, and the letter says “We continue our strong beliefs that economic and business ties between the two nations are significant and are committed to provide high quality business education through our curriculum offerings in Zhuhai. The Confucius Institute has had no influence over our curriculum offerings offerings in Zhuhai or in Smithfield.”

There are Confucius Institutes on around 65 U.S. colleges campuses. Some universities have closed the institutes because of fears that they were spreading communist propaganda information.

Former President Trump’s administration designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a foreign mission of the Chinese Communist Party in 2020, alleging that the program to help teach Chinese language classes in America is part of Beijing’s propaganda and influence operations on campuses and other classrooms.

The designation requires the the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, based in Washington, to submit reports to the U.S. government about its funding, personnel, curriculum and other activities in the United States.

(with information from the Associated Press)