George Washington University closes its Confucius Institute

Both GW Republicans and Democrats called for the university to disband the institute.

One student told 'Campus Reform' that the institute's 'presence on our campus threatened academic freedom.'

The Confucius Institute at George Washington University has announced it has closed its doors effectively since June 30, 2021. 

GW students had been demanding the closing of the Confucius Institute for over a year, both by Democrats and College Republicans. The institute closed its doors silently and is simply part of a wider closing of Confucius Institutes across the nation. 

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Hunter Wilson, a member of the GW Republicans, told Campus Reform that both the GW College Republicans and GW College Democrats sent the university administration a letter encouraging them to shut down their Confucius Institute. However GW “insisted it operated consistent with the University’s values,” Wilson explained. Wilson had also signed onto a statement that aimed to remove Confucius Institutes at a national level.

Patrick Burland, the current Chairman of the GW College Republicans, introduced a bill in the GW Student Association Senate to remove the Confucius Institute. The bill called for “George Washington University to sever ties with its Confucius Institute and publicly acknowledge their incompatibility with a robust commitment to academic freedom.”

Burland told Campus Reform that “Over the past few years, it has become apparent just how dangerous and incompatible Confucius Institutes are with academic freedom.” 

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Burland further told Campus Reform that the GW College Republicans are proud to have worked with GW College Democrats in calling for GW’s Confucius Institute closure last year.  He states that he introduced the bill “given how its presence on our campus threatened academic freedom.”

Additionally, Burland told Campus Reform that despite the wide ranging support of the bill some within the student association were concerned for their safety it had passed “The closure of GW’s Confucius Institute is a positive step for the safety of our students, staff, and academic freedom.”

In an interview with Campus Reform, Filip Vachuda, a GW student, said “I’m so proud of GW standing up for human rights, national security and free speech on campus by closing the Confucius Institute. Hopefully other universities will see this and follow GW’s example.” 

Vachuda made Campus Reform aware of a separate movement that aimed to have the institute removed, a petition organized by two alumni of the university. 

Campus Reform reached out to GW for comment; the story will be updated accordingly. 

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