- Associated Press - Thursday, October 24, 2019

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) - Wesleyan University has decided not to pursue an invitation to explore opening a college in China, the president of the private liberal arts school said Thursday.

President Michael Roth said that he met on a recent trip to China with potential partners in the venture and it became clear their vision for the school did not line up with Wesleyan’s focus on liberal education.

“Further conversations with those who proposed the partnership have made it clear that our respective goals could not be sufficiently aligned - not to mention the questions we had around issues of academic freedom and the implications for our home campus,” Roth wrote in a campus-wide email.

A Chinese corporation, the Hengdian Group, had invited the private liberal arts school to consider teaming up to open a campus in China. The proposal called for Wesleyan to work with the Shanghai Theatre Academy as an academic partner in the joint venture.

The leader of the joint venture was to be a Chinese Communist Party secretary, as is the case for every university in China, Stephen Angle, director of Wesleyan’s global studies center, told the Wesleyan Argus student newspaper.



The proposal had raised concerns on the central Connecticut campus about transparency and academic freedom. The Wesleyan student government had asked for two of its members to be involved in the deliberations. In Roth’s email, he said meetings that had been planned for next week with Wesleyan faculty and students to discuss the proposal have been canceled.

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