Letter From Under Secretary Keith Krach to the Governing Boards of American Universities
Dear Governing Boards of American Institutions of Higher Education and Affiliates,
During this unprecedented period in modern history, American universities and colleges are on the frontlines of addressing many of the challenges presented by the pandemic. At the same time, these great institutions are at the forefront of an equally serious challenge brought on by the authoritarian influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
At the U.S. Department of State, one of our primary missions is to monitor and advocate for freedom, including academic freedom, around the world. American institutions of higher learning are the envy of the world and have always been an invaluable partner in that mission. That is especially true now as we join hands to work through myriad challenges brought on by the pandemic so that we can continue welcoming students from around the world to America’s shores. This includes an orderly resumption of student visa issuances as the situation dictates at our embassies and consulates around the world.
In that same spirit of partnership, I am writing to you about a real and urgent threat that has broad implications for ensuring academic freedom, honoring human dignity, protecting university endowments, and safeguarding intellectual property. As a former Chairman of the Board of a major university, I recognize that when addressing a long-term strategic issue of this magnitude, the responsibility sits squarely on the shoulders of each and every board member.
Citizens around the world are waking up to the truth about the CCP’s three-prong strategy of concealment, co-option, and coercion. The CCP’s concealment of the virus resulted in the pandemic, its co-option of Hong Kong has eviscerated the freedoms of its citizens, and its relentless coercion of the Uyghur people has continued in the brutal internment camps of Xinjiang.