(Valparaiso, IN) - Valparaiso University is under investigation for possible ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
State Attorney General Todd Rokita is looking into Valpo’s association with the Confucius Institutes, which are alleged to function as a propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party. Confucius Institutes have operated for years within the state of Indiana.
Rokita says Chinese political influence and manipulation could violate the Higher Education Act of 1965 or Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.
Rokita’s investigation is also looking at the effects of Communist influence on local K-12 schools. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Valparaiso University reported receiving more than $1.1 million from the Chinese government between 2010 and 2019.
The Confucius Institute has funded Chinese language and culture programs in nine local schools, including Culver Academies, Plymouth, John Glenn, and New Prairie.
The Attorney General's recent statement cites a 2019 bipartisan report from the U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Key findings include:
- Chinese directors and teachers at Confucius Institutes pledge to protect Chinese national interests. Chinese teachers should “conscientiously safeguard national interests,” and their contract terminates if they “violate Chinese law” or “engage in activities detrimental to national interests.”
- Since 2006, the Chinese government has provided more than $158 million to more than 100 U.S. schools for Confucius Institutes.
- The Chinese Communist Party controls nearly every aspect of Confucius Institutes at U.S. schools, including its funding, staff, and programming. It even has veto authority over events and speakers.
- The Chinese government also funds teachers for Confucius Classrooms in the United States, which teach Chinese language and culture in K-12 schools. There are more than 1,000 Confucius Classrooms worldwide and more than 500 in the United States. Expanding the Confucius Classrooms program is a priority for the Chinese Communist Party.
- There is little transparency in the selection of Chinese directors and teachers who staff Confucius Institutes. They are vetted and hired by the Chinese government, and U.S. universities choose from a pool of applicants approved by the Chinese Communist Party.
Rokita says he will use the state's subpoena power to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing at the Confucius Institute and determine if charges against Valparaiso are warranted.