URI to end partnership with Confucius Institute

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The University of Rhode Island is ending its partnership with the Chinese-funded Confucius Institute after the FBI expressed concerns the international program may be restraining academic freedom in the U.S. and curbing free speech, WPRI-TV CBS 12 reported Dec. 17.

The Chinese government-funded cultural institute said its mission is to promote Chinese language and culture.

URI spokeswoman Linda Acciardo said in a statement to WPRI-TV the school made the decision to end its relationship with the institute, by the end of May, because it didn’t want to risk losing federal funding.

She said continuing the relationship could jeopardize federal funding for the school’s Chinese Language Flagship Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Acciardo said the university receives between $140,000 and $150,000 a year to fund the institute, which the school had control over, including faculty selection.