FC Exclusive: Duke retracts press release reassuring stakeholders that Kunshan subsidy will not hurt Durham campus!!

✔✔✔✔✔ Fact Checker exclusive.

Saturday morning, readers of Duke Today, the on-line newspaper for employees, found a lengthy story recounting the Academic Council meeting where President Brodhead faced repeated questions about plans for Kunshan.

By Saturday afternoon, the story -- written by a Duke PR man and thus the equivalent of a press release -- had come down.

A very Loyal Reader alerted Fact Checker to this -- and we were lying in wait anticipating changes in the official version. And we hit pay dirt Sunday night:

✔✔✔ The original version talked about the operating losses expected in the initial years, to be shared by the city of Kunshan and Duke. The precise words:

"Duke's financial commitment to the project is not expected to affect other areas of the university, (Brodhead) said, even in the middle of ongoing budget tightening."

✔✔✔ That guarantee went away in the new posting.

This is a very very sensitive area -- how our growing expenses in Kunshan may impact upon Durham. This is not a small edit.

We will be following up on this.

There was an additional subtle change. The old headline: Duke Moves Forward on Kunshan.

The new headline: Brodhead: Duke Moves Forward on Kunshan. This gives greater profile to the President.

Other financial details were added to the revised story. Deputy Fact Checkers are out talking to their contacts to try to assess the importance of this, which is not immediately apparent.

For those of you who want to read the full story -- and FC believes all stakeholders should always be fully informed -- here is what the new version added.

"* The municipality of Kunshan provided 200 acres and funding for the construction of the buildings, which would cost about $260 million if the equivalent space were built in the U.S. This first phase will include the main academic classroom and office Fuqua School of Business building, a conference center, an academic incubatory/laboratory building, a dormitory, a faculty residence building, and a service building."

"For the first six years of the agreement, Duke's estimated commitment of $37 million is not expected to affect other areas of the university, Brodhead said. The majority of Duke funds will come from several sources, including current Fuqua School of Business costs that will become part of the DKU budget ($10. 4 million), reimbursement for academic and administrative support services provided by Duke to DKU ($7.5 million), new philanthropic gifts ($10 million), and the central strategic investment pool ($9.1 million), which provides seed money to new initiatives throughout the university."

Loyal Readers, we got you covered, but if you want to read the edited version, it is here:


Spinmeisters at Duke, you do not fool Fact Checker!!!