Texas A&M Board of Regents votes to close Qatar campus: 'Heightened instability'
The Texas A&M Board of Regents voted to close the university's campus in Qatar, citing "highightened instability" in the region.
The Texas A&M University Board of Regents voted to close the university’s campus in Qatar, citing “heightened instability” in the region.
The decision was made during a Thursday board of regents meeting, which voted 7-1 to terminate its agreement with the Qatar Foundation, according to a press release.
“Over the last two decades, the Qatar campus has advanced ideals, graduated exceptional Aggie engineers, and is cemented as an important legacy of Texas A&M,” said General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III, president of Texas A&M University. “As we look to the future of our land-, sea- and space-grant university, the global exchange of research and education will continue to be integral to our world-class campuses here in the U.S.”
While the university didn’t explain in detail why the agreement was terminated, its statement points to “the heightened instability in the Middle East.”
Due to the terms of Texas A&M’s agreement with the Qatar Foundation, a government-run organization, termination of the contract will take four years.
Campus Reform previously reported that Texas A&M is one of six American universities with campuses in Qatar, which includes Carnegie Mellon University, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Georgetown University, Northwestern University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
The Free Press obtained a previous contract between the Middle-East nation and Texas A&M University, which details that all intellectual property from research developed at the Qatar campus is property of the Qatar Foundation.
“The Qatar Foundation shall own the entire right, title, and interest in all Technology and Intellectual Property developed at (Texas A&M University Qatar) or under the auspices of its Research Program, other than those developed by non-TAMUQ employees and without financial support from the Qatar Foundation or any of its affiliates,” a previous version of the contract states.
Craig Singleton, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the outlet that the agreement lets the Qatar Foundation “contract with researchers acting as ‘worker bees’ for the Qatari regime, raising serious questions about exactly which party benefits the most from this arrangement.”
In a statement to Arab News, the Qatar Foundation condemned the board of regents vote, alleging it was “influenced by a disinformation campaign aimed at harming the interests” of the government foundation.
“It is disturbing that this disinformation has become the determining factor in the decision and that it has been allowed to override the core principles of education and knowledge, with no consideration to the significant positive impact that this partnership has brought for both Qatar and the US,” reads the statement. “It is deeply disappointing that a globally respected academic institution like Texas A&M University has fallen victim to such a campaign and allowed politics to infiltrate its decision-making processes.”
“At no point did the board attempt to seek out the truth from Qatar Foundation before making this misguided decision,” the Qatar Foundation added.