As network of Chinese-funded institutes at American universities expands, some professors see opportunities. Others worry about academic freedom and whether centers promote "culturetainment," not scholarship.
A Chinese company that was the subject of a Reuters investigation into application fraud has withdrawn from a multi-university project focused on verification of Chinese student transcripts, the news agency reported.
Reuters in October published an article about the Shanghai-based Dipont Education Management Group detailing allegations by ex-employees that it helped students commit application fraud and described how the company "bought access" to admissions officers from top American universities who participated in the company’s summer admission workshops in exchange for $4,500 honoraria or business-class airfare. The original article further noted that Dipont donated $750,000 to a University of Southern California research center for a multi-university project it was leading to attempt to combat application fraud by creating "verifiable credentials" for Chinese applicants to U.S. colleges.
Reuters reported Wednesday that Dipont has withdrawn from the project. A Dipont vice president, Jeff Zhu, said the project’s advisory board recommended the company withdraw “to eliminate any possible question of who has control over the project.”
The future of the project, which has involved Columbia and Stanford Universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as USC, is now unclear. At least two institutions, Pomona and Swarthmore Colleges, have dropped out.