Administration goes on offensive to win support for Kunshan..... Alumni group points to lack of chapel or any religious accomodation.

✔✔✔✔ Within the past 48 hours, the Brodhead Administration has launched a two-pronged offensive to try to shore up support for the Kunshan Initiative.

Brodhead himself has written an e-mail to alumni world-wide, and the administration has started a website with information about all international initiatives. Neither e-mail nor website mentions the controversy swirling around Kunshan.


In another development, a group of alumni has spoken out because the plans for Kunshan -- as released so far -- do not show a chapel or any other accommodation for religion. They point out that Duke's history and values are being ignored, and cite two documents.

First, the Indenture of Trust from James B. Duke: "And I advise that the courses at this institution be arranged, first, with special reference to the training of preachers, teachers, lawyers and physicians..." Almost the entire Kunshan effort to date comes from the Fuqua School of Business.

The alumni group also quotes from the Aims of Duke University, which start this way: "The aims of Duke University are to assert a faith in the eternal union of knowledge and religion set forth in the teachings and character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; to advance learning in all lines of truth; to defend scholarship against
all false notions and ideals; to develop a Christian love of freedom and truth..."

The alumni group says the Brodhead Administration is not being faithful to those words, which are the first in the by-laws of Duke University.

The group wants to know if the seal of Duke Kunshan will include a cross. And if Bibles will be distributed at graduations.


Brodhead's e-mail went to approximately 150,000 alumni. It is in the form of a quick recap on the academic year that is now ending. With respect to Kunshan, it's interesting how he acknowledges that the the Chinese Ministry of Education has the power to say yes or no to the application filed for the new Duke Kunshan University.

Then he says "we'll start with programs in business and global health," neglecting that the Durham faculty must go through an analogous process of approval.

That two-step process for faculty approval is anything but assured. The faculty in Fuqua will vote June 20th, with one option being a moratorium of a year or two to iron out uncertainies and deep concerns about Kunshan. If the Kunshan Folly survives in Fuqua, it will go before the Academic Council, the elected university-wide faculty senate, in the fall.

✔✔ The website has been created a full year after FC first called for such a project. However, our vision was very very different than the Administration's execution. And curiously, Brodhead's e-mail to alumni does not mention the website, suggesting left hand of PR does not know what right hand is doing.


There are stories galore written by PR agents. There is not one original document -- like the Duke Kunshan Planning Guide, or the consultant's report from the China Market Research Group that undermined many of Duke's financial assumptions for Kunshan. In other words, fellow Dukies the administration is filtering news, not letting you read original documents and reach your own conclusions.

✔ As Fact Checker has stated before, Mr. Brodhead, your job is to enable debate among stakeholders -- most notably the faculty -- not to try to derail it.


✔✔✔ The influential Chronicle of Higher Education has a news story today headlined: Duke's China Plan Sparks Doubts on Campus.


Thank you for reading FC and caring about DUKE!

1 comment:

  1. You may already read James Fallows excellent blog at the Atlantic. He writes a lot about China and recently spent a good bit of time there. Definitely check out the link below where he talks about internet access in China. An important tidbit given the academic freedom issues w/ Duke's venture into China.



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