INTERACTIVE MAP: Dozens of Chinese Communist Party funded Confucius Institutes still operate in US

As concerns are growing surrounding Confucius Institutes, multiple universities have chosen to shut them down.

At least 14 universities have closed their Confucius Institutes. More have pledged to close by the end of 2021.

However, at least 56 Confucius Institutes are still in operation, with some of those set to close this year.

As politicians express growing concerns surrounding Confucius Institutes, more than a dozen universities have chosen to shut down their Confucius Institutes, with more pledging to close in 2021.

In 2020, Campus Reform previously published an interactive map showing the locations where more than 75 Confucius Institutes still operated, based on data from the National Association of Scholars (NAS) and records maintained by Campus Reform. Now, there are 56 Confucius Institutes in the U.S., operating within universities and K-12 schools. 

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However, at least 14 more Confucius Institutes have also closed, Campus Reform has since learned.

[RELATED: Senate passes Confucius Act, aims to protect US colleges from Chinese influence]

They are the Community College of Denver, University of Texas-San Antonio, Wayne State University, University of Oklahoma, George Mason University, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Old Dominion University, University of California-Los Angeles, Rutgers University, Augusta University, Georgia State University, University of Kentucky, and Texas Southern University

The Director of Marketing Communications Christa Saracco told Campus Reform that the Confucius Institute at the Community College of Denver closed in September 2020.

The University of Texas-San Antonio announced that it would not renew the grant with its Confucius Institute stating that it would “use the opportunity to graduate its programs into a more robust environment for students studying Eastern Asian cultures by integrating them into the UTSA East Asia Institute.”

The Confucius Institute at Wayne State University closed in January 2021, according to an announcement. “Chinese academic courses at Wayne will continue through the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures,” it read.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Oklahoma closed in October 2020. OU spokesperson Kesha Keith told OU Daily that against the backdrop of evolving programmatic, budgetary and managerial needs, and after requesting faculty input, the university took the necessary steps to begin closing the Confucius Institute.”

The Confucius Institute at George Mason University closed on June 30, 2020.

The Confucius Institute at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte closed near the end of 2020. Director of Issues Management and External Media Relations Buffie Stephens directed Campus Reform to an announcement on the Confucius Institute homepage, which reads, “The Confucius Institute at UNC Charlotte concluded its work on Dec. 31, 2020, transitioning its activities to the Department of Languages and Culture Studies and the Office of International Programs.”

The Confucius Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln also closed at the end of 2020. Public Affairs Director Nancy Reed directed Campus Reform to a September 2020 announcement stating that the University of Nebraska–Lincoln “is closing its Confucius Institute as part of a multi-phase, $38.2 million budget reduction.”

The Confucius Institute at Old Dominion University closed in June 2020. Giovanna Genard, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communication and Marketing for Old Dominion University, told Campus Reform that it “notified the Confucius Institute that it would close on November 2019, and it closed on June 2020 pursuant to the contractually required 6-month notice.”

University of California-Los Angeles Director of Media Relations Ricardo Vazquez told Campus Reform via email that its Confucius Institute closed on July 31, 2020.

Rutgers University Associate Director of Public and Media Relations Neal Buccino told Campus Reform its Confucius Institute closed at the end of 2020.

Augusta University Director of News and Information Heather Henley told Campus Reform its Confucius Institute “is no longer active.”

Georgia State University Associate Vice President for Public Relations and Marketing Andrea Jones told Campus Reform its Confucius Institute “closed this summer” (2020).

The University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto announced in an email on March 4 that the university will close its Confucius Institute, “effective immediately, stating that the existence of the institute puts Department of Defense research grant funding at risk.

Texas Southern University spokeswoman Jourdan Scruggs told Campus Reform that its Confucius Institute was suspended. 

At least ten more universities have announced that they will close their Confucius Institutes in the coming months. Campus Reform has included these universities on the above map because the universities have not yet ceased all Confucius Institute activities.

They are Colorado State University, Emory University, University of Idaho, West Virginia University, University of California-Santa Barbara, Michigan State University, University of South Carolina, Tufts University, Bryant University, and Middle Tennessee State University. 

Colorado State University announced February 24 that it will close its Confucius Institute on June 30. 

Emory University’s Confucious Institute will close in November 2021.

“While the university remains committed to the free exchange of ideas and research with China as evidenced by its robust disciplinary and departmental engagement, it has decided not to renew its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Confucius Institute in Atlanta when it expires in November 2021,” read an announcement on the Emory University homepage.

[RELATED: As other top schools accept CCP money, Harvard orgs work to free brother of law school alumna from CCP concentration camp]

The Confucius Institute at the University of Idaho is expected to close on May 31, 2021.

The Confucius Institute at West Virginia University is expected to close in June 2021. April Kaull, Executive Director of Communications, told Campus Reform, “West Virginia University’s MOU expired in 2019. Under the terms of that MOU, Hanban, a Chinese organization, provides funding for visiting scholars to teach Chinese language in secondary schools. That funding will run out in June 2021, at which time we will no longer be hosting any Confucius Institute activities in West Virginia.”

The University of California-Santa Barbara Director of News and Media Relations Andrea Estrada told Campus Reform that its Confucius Institute is anticipated to close “within the academic year.” 

Michigan State University announced it will close its Confucius Institute “by the end of 2021,” in an announcement.

The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees approved the termination of its Confucius Institute in February. It was not clear when the center will cease operations.

Tufts University announced on March 17 its decision to close the Confucius Institute. 

Bryant University said it will not seek a contract renewal for its Confucius Institute while it so it can “evaluate changes that are taking place in China and regarding U.S.-China relations.” Bryant, however, did not rule out “any future commitment.”

MTSU spokesman Andrew Oppmann, a spokesman for Middle Tennessee State University said in July 2020, according to the Murfreesboro Post, “From the outset, MTSU’s partnership with the Confucius Institute has focused on cultural and social exchange opportunities rather than scientific research involving federal funds or sensitive areas of governmental interest. MTSU through the years has more narrowly defined its relationship with the institute and established protocols that strictly maintain the university’s academic freedom and provides transparency. No outside entity has control over what we teach.”

Asked when the MTSU Confucius Institute would cease operations, Oppmann replied, “as quickly as possible.” The current status of the institute, however, is unclear. 

Campus Reform reached out to each of the remaining universities and other educational institutions currently listed on the map to confirm that they do still indeed operate Confucius Institutes but none responded in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ashleyecarnahan