(NPR) The U.S. Department of Education says it is opening an investigation of Yale and Harvard universities for failing to disclose hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts and contracts from foreign donors.
The Department of Education said Yale failed to disclosed a total of $375 million in foreign money and that it was concerned that Harvard may not have fully complied with reporting requirements.
“This is about transparency,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in the statement. “If colleges and universities are accepting foreign money and gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know how much and from whom.”
A letter from Reed Rubinstein, the DOE’s principal deputy general counsel, to Yale President Peter Salovey, accused the university of not reporting “a single foreign source gift or contract” in the period 2014 to 2017, despite the school having sites in dozens of countries.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the investigation on Wednesday. The probe of Yale and Harvard is part of a larger examination by the DOE, which says its enforcement efforts, since July, have triggered the reporting of approximately $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign money, much of it from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, according to the department.
In an email to NPR, Yale spokesperson Karen Peart said that the university had “received a Department of Education request for records of certain gifts and contracts from foreign sources.”
In the case of Yale, the letter from the DOE specifically requested all records from the school related to gifts or contracts from Saudi Arabia, Saudi nationals, China, Huawei Technologies and ZTE. Huawei and ZTE – Chinese technology companies with ambitions to provide the global infrastructure for the next generation 5G mobile networks — were placed on a U.S. sanctions blacklist last year. The U.S. has said Huawei is a national security threat, and the company has frequently come in for criticism from President Trump.