Courtesy of Cornell University

Cornell's Weill Cornell Medicine campus in Doha, Qatar.

July 11, 2019

Report: Cornell’s ties to Qatar and China under federal investigation

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p dir=”ltr”>(This article was originally printed in The Ithaca Times.) 

The Department of Education is alleging that Cornell University has failed to disclose foreign gifts and contracts from Qatar and China, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The department, through letters to university presidents, alleged that Cornell, along with Texas A&M, Georgetown University and Rutgers University, did not tell federal officials about particular gifts and contracts. Two universities’ letters have been released publicly, while two more are expected to be released sometime next week.

Cornell spokesman John Carberry shared the following statement: “On July 3, Cornell University received a letter from the Department of Education, requesting records related to previously submitted federally required reports. Cornell takes our reporting requirements seriously. We are currently reviewing the request and plan to fully cooperate with federal officials in this effort.”

The University has received over $65 million in contracts and gifts from Qatar between 2012 and 2018, according to data aggregated by the Department of Education. Universities are required to report contracts and gifts greater than $250,000 per year. Cornell also notes that it has a “significant international educational presence, including Weill Cornell Medical College’s campus in Doha, Qatar,” in its 2017 990 tax filing.

“Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar has trained and graduated hundreds of young physicians from the Middle East, Asia and many other countries (including the U.S.), enabling the ongoing transformation of patient care, biomedical research and quality of life in the region and around the world,” continued Carberry’s statement.

Cornell has also received $12.5 million worth of contracts and gifts based in China. Over $5 million of that money was from contracts with Huawei, a technology company listed by the federal government as one that is denied sensitive technology because it is a danger to national security. The $5.3 million payment, spread over two research contracts in 2017, was the largest payout to an American university in the last six years, the Cornell Sun reported.

Cornell’s Qatar campus was established in January 2001, and has since operated in a relationship with Weill Cornell Medicine, which is based in Cornell’s New York City campus. It is one of six U.S. schools that have branches in Qatar.